Friday, June 23, 2017

Radio Gaga

Good afternoon,

Listening to a local radio station a few days ago, I heard something that I objected to.  There was a conversation between a few on-air personalities, and one of them mentioned that they had no issue with confronting a parent in public if she felt that their child was acting inappropriately in public.  Hearing this made my blood turn cold.  (There was a bit more to it but this is the main gist of it).

What this person failed to understand, in my opinion, is that they cannot simply look at a child's behavior and understand the cause.  Is the child perhaps on the Autism spectrum? Is the child being treated for serious issues such as abuse, neglect, or other circumstance? Worse yet, is the child suffering from such issues and not receiving any treatment at all?

As Tyler's Dad, I have felt the stares.  I have seen people whisper and snicker in his direction.  My wife has suffered in silence when Tyler hit at her, or kicked, or pinched.  It can feel as though someone is holding a "BAD PARENT" sign directly over your head.  I doubt that there is any caregiver who hasn't found themselves feeling this way.  Our hearts break because we know our children are not bad.  They don't deserve to be mocked, or stared at like they are less a person than anyone else.  

And they, nor we, deserve to have someone randomly come up to us and offer wisdom for a subject they know nothing about. 

I called the radio station and had a friendly and constructive conversation with the station director.  I explained that my concern was that if an on-air personality is so boastful about passing judgment and reacting inappropriately about children in public, it sends a very poor message to those people that believe tolerance is four letter word.   The station director was extremely understanding and actually agreed that the conversation was in poor taste.  He assured me that the personality meant no disrespect.

On the surface it may seem like an innocent and unimportant thing to tilt at windmills about, but unless we educate people on being tolerant and resisting that urge to pass public judgment, we will forever face this issue.  I'm realist enough to understand that some people cannot be educated because they don't WANT to be.  And some people will always fear what they don't understand.  But I do believe that generally there are more people who are more inclined to be accepting.

Our special needs loved ones deserve understand and respect, even when they are "disruptive".  We must all be educators to help bridge the typical world with their world.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

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