You may not see it on the surface and you may never even know when you talk to her. But she knows. We know. She doesn’t need a wheel chair or other outward preventions to aid her in disability. Instead, what she has is placed in her brain.Is it the chemical make up of her brain or is it some sort of defect that could have happened in utero? We will never know.
It makes her think differently than you me. When she is upset she yells out random large math facts and knows the answer. Or she tells you where she was and you were and what you were wearing and talking about when she heard a song last. To calm her rambling brain she memorizes the most intriguing things and in the most intriguing manners.
We used to be angry that she had to deal with this. We used to wonder why. Now we smile because it is her. The best advice her therapist ever gave me and my guy. “Love # 2 for who she is.” And boy howdy, do I ever! She is my sunshine and light. And really what is so wrong with knowing your limits always? And smart in such a unique way that you have this memory and brain function that allows you to catalog these amazing things?
The down side is people find disabilities as a weakness and treat them as such. Young children are not excluded. My daughter has spent the better half of her two years of schooling being bullied by kids. Mean and cruel kids that don’t get her uniqueness. In her social circles which are extremely small she is the quiet, very small girl who just wants to play with the few selected friends she has. She doesn’t get social norms and really doesn’t even understand why they exist. Thankfully, her therapy has gotten her to the point where she accepts that they exist and learns them like you would learn spelling words and math facts. She will not likely ever understand them.
This past week I feel so devastated for her because she had spent the week being bullied by an older kid on the bus who often referred to my baby girl as “her”. I don’t want to sit by “her”. Why would you like “her”? I don’t like “her”. What is wrong with “her”? She made her move from sitting by her friends and sitting all alone. She purposefully pretends like she doesn’t exist. Having conversations with the other people around and when she would speak shun her. Finally Friday arrived and she had taken all she could take. She comes in and hugs me and I can tell immediately something was wrong. She bursts into tears. I get the story. I follow the chain of command. Tell the principal and teacher. This has happened before a few times sadly.
From here I am gonna protect my daughters privacy, but I want to be very clear. Kids that get bullied are never at fault. EVER. It doesn’t matter if they don’t tell the immediate person in charge and only tell Mom and Dad. There is always two sides of the story but once you take it to bullying that is crossing the line. The bullier is WRONG!
Every single child has the right and ability to go to school without feeling belittled or harassed. My child has extra measures….she is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. When she was diagnosed we toyed with do we note this forever or do we maintain privacy. Well folks, we reluctantly had it noted. But just for this purpose to protect her legally always. My daughter’s disability is not outward. Every single bit of it is inward. It will always affect her more than it effects her social world. We had to protect her because we know that some of the issues she displays are not always understood by those in her presence. Therefore, making her a prime target of discrimination. Call it whatever you will, but folks that is what it is. Kids make mistakes and that I am willing to forgive. But allowing this pattern to continue, I will not.
Besides that my daughter is pretty cool. Eventually, she will find the perfect social circle that she fits into and every single one of them will fall in love with her like we have. She is always good for a giggle and extremely secure in who she is in this world. I think that intimidates people. I just wish it would happen sooner than later.