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Don’t Stare, Say Hello

Francie Khalaf by Francie Khalaf Additional Needs

Francie Khalaf

Francie Khalaf

I am a wife and mother of two children with cerebral palsy. I believe in making lemonade out of lemons

This blog for me is something I have been wanting to write for a while. It’s hard to articulate and I have been trying to figure out how to tackle this subject.

It’s hard having a child with special needs.

It’s even harder when you feel pitied or like a circus act.

My husband and I often notice when we are out and about people staring or even worse, giving us the “I feel sorry for you look.”

My son has a feeding tube.

He also isn’t verbal and when we go grocery shopping, he can’t sit in the cart like normal kids.

This means that I am often carrying him and placing him in his special seat to get groceries.

His feeding tube and backpack are constantly attached to him.

He will be getting a wheelchair soon and I worry that the stares will get worse.

So, I began to ask myself, how are we supposed to react when we someone or something out of place?

When we see a child throwing a tantrum in the aisles at a store?

When we see a mom changing a feeding tube in a restaurant?

When we see a child with a ventilator?

Do we look away so the parents don’t feel like we are staring?

These are all questions I have been asking myself when I find myself in an awkward situation.

I think there are many ways to react but the one that I think will fit any situation is to smile.

Smile at the child and say hello. Smile at the parent and say hello. We are aware that our child has special needs, trust me.

I have found that sometimes people feel uncomfortable, they don’t know how to react.

I understand, I was there before I had my son.

I wasn’t sure what to say but now I say hello. I treat that child like I would any other child.

I smile at the parent like I would any other parent because the one thing that parents of special needs want more than anything in the world is for their child to be like every other child.


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