Dear Friends…

Don’t apologize for your kids with special needs.

I love how kids know. They know when a stranger is safe. The amount of times a person with special needs has run up to me and grabbed my hand, started a conversation, or just stood next to me and smiled is countless. And I’ve heard numerous stories from my fellow nurses, techs, teachers, and nannies who work with kids who have special needs. Those kiddos just know, there is an unspoken connection with these friends and it is fantastic.

It breaks my heart that parents and caregivers feel they have to apologize. Apologize for the touching, the sounds, the closeness, the conversation, the singing, the everything unique and amazing that makes that person special, and not only that, but what that person might be doing that is annoying you so much is a result of sensory overload, it is a survival tactic.

So many parents and caregivers of people with special needs have been scolded verbally or with nasty disapproving looks. And they are constantly apologizing. Strangers who have no idea that the man loudly humming the same theme song over and over again has to do that. That the little girl tapping the table and rocking back and forth in her chair in a crowded restaurant has to do that. That the child who’s going into sensory overload can’t help but scream and hit himself.

If you can’t help but feel the need to stare down that person who is apparently annoying you, then please just turn around. Don’t let them see your judgmental glares. They really don’t need it. Trust me. 

To the parents and caregivers out there who have seen those looks and heard the disgraceful murmurs of the disapproving strangers…just know there are so many more of us out there who will love on your kids and love on you.

So please, I encourage you not to stop your child from being themselves. It makes my day when a friend runs up to me and grabs my hand or asks me to sing along with whatever song they need to sing. 

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