Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Ode to the Perfect/Not so Perfect Child

Oh, the sad stories we hear and tell:

This story was reported via the Telegraph (here), which conveyed that show business is just that: show business. The cute little girl who sang at the Olympics and who has gained world attention was just a prop: a cuter alternative to the real singer--whose only wrongdoing was her appearance of buck teeth.

Please tell me how this poor 7 year old (Yang Peiyi) is supposed to feel about herself? That she’s—what?—not good enough…even though she won the “grueling” competition to sing at the Olympics, and did sing, but she just couldn’t show her face or be recognized for her talent—until now, also reported in the Washington Post (here).

This is no different than what most parents of autistic/asperger children have to face and advocate for the rights of their child to participate with their typical peers. The brutal “not good enough to participate” in a typical classroom, school playground, school field trip, band... is what our kids are understanding and recognizing—no wonder why my kids are so shy.

Tell me, how many ASD kids “learn” to feel inadequate from the start? If you’ve seen what I’ve seen through the years, then the answer to that question is: every single one of them.

School administrators or directors would just look at me and nod:
“Yes Mrs. Collins, she is participating with her typical peers” (cue, fake smile)


“Why, why do you want Meghan to be integrated with her typical peers, Mrs. Collins? "
(I think the ignorant school principal asked me that one.)

"Well, why do you think you f…-up!! " (No, I didn’t actually say that, but thought it though, while reuniting my lower jaw with the upper...)


Yes, I’ve learned to get along with all of them: teachers, principals, school officials...and, let’s just say that it doesn’t hurt to send an informative (OK, nasty) letter to the school superintendent to make sure things stay—how do you say— “within our children's civil rights…”

But sport your big smile and muddle through to the next inevitable battle with the ignorant...

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