The last time I wrote, I explained a recent situation where we chose to ask for special treatment due to Eddie’s unique special needs. The comments I received were varied and brought up an array of new questions that I was asking myself. Should we do everything we can to give our children a boost in life? Should we ask for special treatment when we also ask for equality?
As a teacher of the visually impaired, I want to expect Eddie to follow the same rules as everybody else. I want him to know that he isn’t the only child in the world, and that he also has to be respectful of those around him. I want him to be seen as a capable kid by his peers, instead of somebody that always needs assistance.
In my teaching role, I see students and adults become overly helpful with the kids that have visual impairments, which can hinder the child’s own independence. For example, it is nice for you to bring him a Kleenex, but if he doesn’t have to get it himself, he won’t know where the Kleenex is kept. The more we assist our children with special needs, the more we can keep them from finding their own way.
However, as a parent, I sometimes weep inside at the daily struggles my son has to face. I watch him spend five minutes trying to complete a task that takes us ten seconds. I watch him throw a tantrum when asked to use a spoon because it just isn’t as easy as using his hands. When those tears start falling, it takes everything I have to not step in and tell him to take the easy way out. But, my expectations are simply too high to always make his life easy. What is hard now will someday be less difficult if I continue to push him.
That being said, I’ve come to realize something else recently. There are times in our lives when we ALL need special treatment. That can be an extra hug from someone that loves us. It can be a coffee purchased for us “just because.” It can even be an extra minute, hour, or weekend of quality time with someone to help us through hard times. Our children need that special treatment on occasion in the form of a break in a long line, a closer parking spot, or even a helping hand to get the milk open.
We all struggle at times. Our children with visual impairments can face difficult struggles every day. Even though I expect a lot, I also expect to give assistance now and then. If for no other reason, than simply because I love my son. We all need a little special treatment for our mental health and overall well-being. Receiving and accepting help from others is good for the heart and soul, and shows us that we are loved. Above all else, our children need to know that they are loved.