Okay, here is an example:
This morning I took the kids to an art event in the park. Afterward, we walked to the grocery store and did some shopping. As we were checking out, both my kids were signing in ASL "ice cream," "ice cream" because they saw and wanted ice cream.
A kind employee of the store saw they were signing ice cream. She started asking my dfd, who was closer to her than ds was, what other signs she knew. My kids both have a huge ASL vocab, but dfd has more social interest than ds. In fact, while both kids have "special needs," the nature of dfd's special needs actually draw people into her, whereas people seem to push away from ds.
Anyway, so dfd was busy showing off her signs (which is sort of silly because this employee-- who knew some sign, as her husband apparently used to work at a deaf school-- would have been more impressed had she actually tried to have a conversation with dfd in sign rather than just quizzing her on the signs she knows). The employee and she were both enjoying it, so everything was good.
Then the employee asked dfd how old she is, and dfd said she is two. The employee turned to me and said in this dismayed, sort of hushed tone, but within ds' hearing proximity, "My neighbor has a two year old who can't even say 'mama' yet." It was the way she said it. It went beyond, "hey, I am impressed by your kid," and into the realm of judgement of the neighbor and her kid. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but the tone was just, well, one of pity...dismay...judgement...shock...??? I might have even seen a slight roll of the eyes.
So there stands ds, who the employee has completely and utterly ignored the whole time even when ds tried to start chiming in with some signing.
ds was nearing two when he first said "mama." Every word is a struggle for him. He works way harder for his words and signs than dfd does...why should she get all this acceptance and praise for having an easy time? And should my ds have to listen to people like him getting spoken about in hushed, dismayed voices?
In retrospect, I should have said, "All kids develop differently. Every kid has strengths, and every kid has challenges." What I said was (and I admit I got kinda short at that point...I was tired and hungry and crabby), "I have two kids. One who says a lot of stuff. And one who does a lot of stuff. They are all different." That's not really all that accurate. My kids both say and do things. ds has different patterns of speech than the usual, but he says stuff all the time. And dfd can do lots of stuff too...just an hour before she was braving an incredibly high climb at the park.
That's a pretty benign example. When I first wrote this post I was writing about invasive personal questions that come along, some with reason (teachers trying to learn more about how to work with ds, for example), some without (curious aquaintances and strangers). Almost 100% of the time, ds is standing right there.
But let's take this example, since it is current. Sometimes I am so caught off guard with these things that I respond inappropriately, or worse, not at all.
I'd like to shout from a rooftop that my son is a human being. A living, breathing human being who enjoys interaction too even if it can't be the canned type that works on all the other kids. He is a learning, developing human being with strengths too.
Does anybody relate? Did any of you watch this video?
I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.