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Special Needs Parenting: Help! How do I answer that next awkward question?

Special Needs Parenting: Help! How do I answer that next awkward question?

The most popular question (and I am sure you can all guess what it is) is ‘What is wrong with your child?’

And whilst I have an answer for that one ('nothing, he just has cerebral palsy'), there are some questions I just can’t think of an answer for.

There is another question that I get asked a lot and it tends to go like this:

‘Aww, is he asleep?’

‘Ermm, well, I wouldn’t have thought so, his eyes are wide open.’

‘Tired then?’

‘Er, no it’s 9.30am and he actually didn’t sleep too badly for him last night’

‘Yes, he must be tired, he’s yawning.’

‘No, he’s just opening his mouth, it’s just what he does.’

Maybe if Oscar could talk, he would be politely asking you to shut up asking his mummy all these questions!

Now, now mummy! Calm down.

I think the thing that puzzles me most is that I really don’t know where this comes from when people ask me this.

I don’t understand what they are seeing that I am not.

I look at Oscar and he does not look the slightest bit tired but then I know my son.

Other people do not.

I know I should probably explain about his disability and although I am more than happy to do this, I do not feel like I should have to tell every single person I meet.

Sometimes, I feel a bit like, it really isn’t anyone else’s business. 

I think people speak to me so often when I am out and about with Oscar is they sense something is ‘different’ and maybe they are a bit curious (or nosey).

But, if I got into a discussion with everyone who speaks to me about Oscar and told them about his condition I would not get anything done.

A LOT of people seem to like and come and talk to us.

It is also exhausting going over and over it again and sometimes this is not good for my emotional or mental health.

Especially, if I am having a bit of a bad day, which I am glad to say are few and far between.

But, I also know that this is making me a bad special needs parent as I should be educating people as there is still so much stigma around people who have disabilities, regardless of age.

And, this is wrong, very, very wrong.

I still can’t believe it is happening in this day and age.

So, I am asking for some help from all special needs parents and carers please.

What questions are you regularly asked about your child and how do you respond?
Polite responses only please :-)

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Jane Ashton

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