Three New Year’s Resolutions that would help my family

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...

Except this one is a little different.

I won’t bore you with my New Year’s resolutions but I do hope that any YOU have include the following to help children and adults with disabilities and additional support needs like my children.

These are three resolutions I hope people will consider not just for the first week or so in January but for the entire 2018 and beyond.

1. Would you resolve to be more tolerant of those who are different to you?

Maybe then I would get less stares and tuts from people when I take my son out.

Maybe then when my daughter gets very repetitive people would not mock her but would be more patient to allow her the time she needs to communicate.

When the person in the queue takes longer to work out the money needed to pay or needs a bit more time to process the choices on offers would you maybe be a bit more tolerant instead of sighing loudly making them more anxious?

Teach your children to be tolerant of the child in the swimming pool screaming with excitement or the child in their school who still likes Peppa Pig at 8.

Can I challenge you a step further and ask that you be more open minded and willing to listen to adults with autism like my husband who perhaps gets much more hyper focussed on something you may not agree with?

This goes beyond just those with disabilities too. If we were all more tolerant with people of different religions, lifestyle choices and ways of looking at things the world would be a much better place for everyone.

2. Would you resolve to be more inclusive?

How about deciding that this year you won’t exclude that child with behavioural difficulties to your child’s birthday party?

What about stopping and saying hello to the person who is in the wheelchair instead of only acknowledging the person pushing it for a change?

Could you make sure places like churches have areas suitable for young families with babies in prams?

If you really want to make a huge difference how about joining the campaign for changing places toilets to ensure that everyone has a place to be relieved and not just those who at fully able bodied?

Is your work place inclusive for those who need easier access or who need interpreters or use a guide dog?

Could you encourage be more considerate for people with sensory processing disorders or autism and have periods of less sensory stimulation?

Every one of these actions, and many more besides, go a long way to making our society more inclusive for children like mine and I would be so grateful if you would think about inclusion as a brand new year begins.

3. Would you resolve to be more forgiving of parents like me?

This probably sounds strange as we have never met but I would like to ask you to forgive me as a new year begins.

You see there have been times this past year when I have been stressed and ever so tired and I have snapped at people in public because they have so much as looked over at my child while he was upset.

I know I can, and other parents of special needs children can, be over sensitive at times and defensive. Please forgive me.

In our quests for basic things to meet our children’s needs we can come across as pushy, cheeky and even demanding. I am sorry about that.

Parents like me carry a huge emotional burden and we get so upset to see our child unable to have simple things like access shops or access suitable changing facilities in public.

We sometimes get angry at the time it takes to gets changes made it the fact we continually get ignored.

I am asking you to be more understanding and forgiving when our methods may seem abrupt but please please understand that we are passionate for all the things I am asking you to be like tolerant and inclusive.

We just live this thing daily and sometimes we get upset that we face yet another year watching our children struggle when they should not have to.

But you can help that. By being more tolerant and inclusive and understanding together we can make positive waves in 2018 that can help so many children like mine.

Make 2018 a year that counts for all the right reasons please.


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