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If They Only Knew What I Was Thinking

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As parents to children with special needs, we’re graced with many, many opportunities to kindly and compassionately educate others about our children. We endeavor to dispel myths, preach inclusion, and promote equality and acceptance.  It’s not always easy to be so kind, especially when we read extremely ugly comments to posts online, or hear others speaking crassly about autism or other special needs.

Sometimes we just want to let the snark fly.

So I did. Here. Following are some of the things I only wish I could say sometimes. I’ve chosen to write responses to some of the most common questions we hear or read. Just to be clear, these are things I think in my head, not things I actually say. (I feel like I have to make that abundantly clear, so no one gets their panties in a bunch.)


“Why should our kids have to go to school with all these ‘challenged’ kids?  Why shouldn’t kids with special needs go to their own school?”

It’s important that your children are prepared for the real world by being exposed to different kinds of people.  When they are adults, no one will be there to shelter them from all the “different” people they will come in contact with, and we don’t want it to be a shock to their system when that happens.


“Why should our tax dollars be used to support kids with special needs?  They use up money that schools could be using for materials, teacher salaries, and extracurriculars.”

Everyone knows that teachers are in it for the love of teaching*, not the money.  It would almost be insulting to offer them MORE money, just for doing what they love.  Besides, most of those special needs kids get denied for services they really need, so we’re not spending THAT much extra on them.  I’ve also got enough cookie dough in my freezer from the PTA fundraiser to fund a sports team for an entire season.


“What if our children pick up bad habits from the special needs kids, who have unusual or severe behavior problems?”

Many behaviors occur because of teasing, bullying, or not being included by their peers.  Your children should be safe as long as they continue to ignore the special needs children, as though they’re not really there.  If one of them does have a behavior in front of your children, they should move as far away as possible and stare at the special needs child, whispering to their friends about him or her, and basking in the warm glow of satisfaction, knowing they aren’t as weird as that kid.  Because being a friend to a child with specials needs is just unimaginable, right?


“These kids take up more of the teacher’s time in the classroom, so the rest of the kids suffer because they’re being held back.”

It’s true that children with special needs often need more one-on-one time, keeping the typical kids from mastering the content in record time, forging through the grade-level work by mid-year, and resulting in them not being the next Doogie Howser.  That’s the reason we don’t ever see 14-year-old doctors in clinics and hospitals, and it’s a damn dirty shame.  On the plus side, it saves parents from having to pick up their doctor-child at the end of their midnight shift.

Sorry folks, urban myth. Your little precious isn't the child prodigy you think they are.

Sorry folks, urban myth. Your little precious isn’t the child prodigy you think they are.

I don’t know about you, but that felt good. Now that I’ve let the snark poison out of my system, I can go back to kindly and patiently educating these stupid fuckers misinformed parents. I try to equate educating the masses with the formation of the Grand Canyon. Time and pressure. If time and pressure can carve out something so massive and breathtaking, then there’s hope for autism awareness and education.


*Teachers TOTALLY deserve more money, they work hard.


About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

10 responses »

  1. Hmmm, what’s that saying about great minds thinking alike? I thought you were kinda nice in some of your replies. When I talk to myself (a lot), my inner bitch flag flies high and proud! 😉

    Seriously though, yes, carving out the motherluvin’ grand canyon of awareness and understanding. One body at a time.

  2. I thought that you were pretty nice too..I think it would be kind of cool to print this list up-and carry a couple of copies around..this way, I could just hand it out should the need’d be a good time saver..

  3. Hope Novello

    Thanks for sharing. I am learning……….. And though I have not walked in your shoes as a parent of a Special needs child. I am a mommy of 3 grown children who taught my children never to judge. Explained to them what compassion and empathy was And believe I showed them those qualities by modeling them. I am also learning about Disability because I have been “Disabled” for 6 yrs now. And I see that we have to continue to fight the fight. And who better to fight then a mommy. Keep on carving! And by the way, I talk to myself all the time. However, I try to keep the inner chatter as positive as I can though I send all of that negative energy out into the Universe because I think that it matters. Plus it feels really good to let it go. . Hope 🙂

  4. I am not that nice when I talk to myself.

  5. I am so much snarkier, in my own head. As far as picking up bad habits? One time I wanted to say that my special needs child had no idea how to climb up the slide and JUMP off until her typical perfect child demonstrated the ability!

  6. Darling..have I told you lately…that I love you????

  7. Preach it! I actually think these are pretty tame. I think a lot snarkier stuff in my own head.

  8. We raise special needs awareness to many different needs but the acceptance is what we are trying to accomplish here but because of others ignorance, more awareness is needed. Next time people say something re stupid remember that ignorance is a one way street and acceptance is a four lane highway. go around them and educate, educate and educate. or maybe just punch them in the face. lol

  9. I ❤ you so hard, Flannery. So.Fucking.Hard.

  10. Seriously, enough with the cookie dough, PTA! Who makes that many cookies?!


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