As humans, we all have our pet peeves. But today, I’m going to list the things that annoy most special needs parents, including myself.
As a special needs parent, you’re already stressed out, overworked and tired. Sometimes little things get on your last nerve and make you want to pull your hair out. I have been there and done that, to say the least. Despite it all, we move on and overcome, maybe a little more annoyed than when we started.
So, for a laugh, let’s list some of those things that annoy us. We’ve all been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.
1. The “R” word: as if this really needs an explanation. It is hurtful and rude and shouldn’t be used.
2. When all the handicap spots are used up and it’s pouring down rain. Who has hands for an umbrella, too? I know I don’t.
3. When someone parks so close to you that you can’t even squeeze by sideways to get in your car, let alone open the door to get your special needs child in the car.
4. When the doctor is late and makes you wait, but you still have to be there on time.
5. When someone cancels on you last minute as you’re already on your way, or they never even call to tell you they’ve canceled. This includes doctors’ offices. Anyone knows it takes hours and an army to get you and your kid ready to go and loaded up with all their equipment. It’s annoying to find out it was all for nothing.
6. People staring at you as you push your child in a wheelchair and carry a ton of bags out of the store–and no one offers to help you carry them. I believe if you are going to gawk, then at least ask if you can help. Sometimes, I feel like a one-woman circus.
7. When someone sees you pushing your child in a wheelchair toward the door and lets the door slam in front of you. Sure, watch me open the door with my elbow or foot and get through the door one-handed. I am here to amuse.
8. When someone asks me why I wear jeans and a T-shirt most of the time. Um…because poop and barf and snot are easier to get out of a T-shirt than a nice, expensive outfit. If I can’t get the stain out, I don’t feel half as bad about throwing out that tee.
9. This next one annoys both me and Alex: when people don’t attend to their children and the kids start pushing Alex’s wheels around–with him in it! I get it. Kids are fascinated by the wheels, but it’s kind of rude. Even after I shoot the parent the “look,” half the time I am the one that has to wrangle that person’s kids and return them.
10. When someone rides my truck’s bumper on the road and I am going the speed limit. I have a handicap sticker on the back tail gait of my truck for all to see. Still, some people want to risk rear-ending me and damaging my truck, Alex’s wheels and possibly hurting us, all for the sake of shaving a second off their trip.
11. When we are in a crowded place and people cut in front of Alex’s wheels or just plain push and shove him over and don’t even say sorry or acknowledge he’s there. I think we need to add an air horn on his wheels.
12. When the handicap bathroom has no changing table for a handicapped kid. Even in a children’s hospital. Shouldn’t that be an option? So many times, we have to change our kids on a dirty floor.
13. Wine that does not come with a mommy sippy cup. It should be standard. Just saying. Or, hey, how about a frequent shopper’s card for a free bottle after every 12th purchased?
I am by no means saying that Alex or I need special attention or that we expect to be treated like kings or queens. It’s just that common courtesy and common sense go a long way in life. In this fast-paced world, it would be great if people stopped, looked around and noticed that not everyone is the same; some of us may need a little extra help and understanding from time to time.
As the quote goes, “If not now, then when? If not me, then who?”
We need to educate and empower the next generation to be accepting and being kind to others and by lending a hand, sharing a hug, being a friend and being understanding. So there is my point of view and a look into both Alex’s and my own pet peeves and annoyances. I am sure you can add your own annoyances to the list.
I encourage you to share this article in the hope that we can spread awareness and understanding.
Trish Schaeffer is a mom of three boys—two with special needs—and a blogger for Central Penn Parent. Follow her at www.centralpennparent.com/A-Loving-Journey. You can follow Trish on Twitter @Alovingjourney and on her Facebook group A Loving Journey-Parents of special needs kids.