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Even Other Children Avoid My Child

Miriam Gwynne by Miriam Gwynne Additional Needs

Miriam Gwynne

Miriam Gwynne

Full time mum and carer for two truly wonderful autistic twins. I love reading, writing, walking, swimming and encouraging others. Don’t struggle a...

Adults have always seemed to struggle with my son, more so since he has got older.

They look at him as if he is something the cat dragged in, physically walk away from him and generally act like he might be contagious.

They talk about him to their friends, and not in a positive way, and sometimes even laugh at him.

Often the older generation are the worst sadly.

But surely children, innocent of all the social complications adults have, unaffected by peer pressure and generally more curious, would be much more accepting of my son?

Apparently not.

I took my son swimming recently. Other children stared, mocked and pointed.

So much for inclusion and a society that accepts everyone.

Even the popular pre-school children’s TV channel CBeebies has a slogan of, ‘Everyone Welcome’, and nurseries and schools pride themselves on being inclusive.

Yet even young toddlers seem to walk away when they see my son.

Disability is more in the community now than ever so why does no-one play with my son, even in the park?

It was busy with plenty parents and children of all ages. Other children were happily interacting with my daughter so why not my son?

Maybe he scares them? Was it his flapping, noises, loud clapping and laughter that put them off? Maybe the fact he doesn’t look at them or reply to them makes them stay away?

Whatever it is it breaks my heart; To see even young children avoid my child just because he is different.

He may have severe autism. He may be epileptic. He may be unable to speak. But he’s just an ordinary 9-year-old boy who loves other children, feels lonely and would like friends.

Why does everyone else either get off the roundabout or take their children off it when they see him approach? Why do children jump off the swing in a panic if he heads in that direction, as if he is some monster coming to eat them? Why does the slide and climbing frame empty if he goes on it?

You can’t catch autism from him. He won’t give you his epilepsy if you sit beside him. He won’t kill you or hurt you.

We still have such a long way to go to see society more accepting and inclusive. We seem to have this notion that if we include the odd child in mainstream who has mild learning difficulties or uses crutches that all is OK.

We think by having ramped access and the odd disabled toilet in places that we don’t need to do anything else.

Is anyone willing to do the hard stuff though? The teaching to children that others like my son are not to be feared. The training of children to not laugh, mock or stare at those who do things or look different.

Would your child be willing to sit on the empty seats beside my boy on the roundabout and say hi to him?

Would you sit there and be comfortable?

Maybe one day I will take a picture of my son on that roundabout with other children all around him as it ought to be.

Until then it makes me so sad when even children avoid my disabled son.

What if this was your child they were avoiding?


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