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“Why are ‘special’ children labelled so?” asks a mother whose toddler has Down syndrome. “Are we all perfect? Don’t we all have needs that may be different?”
We’ve grown up hearing that there are certain children who are ‘special’ or ‘different’.
We’ve gotten conditioned to look and sometimes behave with them in a different manner. We never stop to think about how the parents of that child would feel. We never give our reactions a second thought, unfortunately. Because these aren’t the situations that society prepares us for, ever.
A year back when my son was born I had no idea that he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. It was only a month later that I was informed of this news. And as we can imagine, with the complete lack of awareness, my reaction was not something I’m proud of.
Now my son is almost a 14-month-old, and I wouldn’t have him any other way. He’s perfect. But most of all, he isn’t special. He’s just a baby, like any other baby. He smiles, laughs, cries, shits, eats, plays, sleeps, talks and does everything every other child does. Then why had I labeled him ‘special’ initially? There was nothing ‘special’ about him. He is just a child, with a slightly different routine, and mostly with additional needs.
But, here’s the question, are we all perfect? Have we never needed help with anything? Have we never needed more support in certain aspects of our life?
Of course most of us have. I have. But did requiring more help make us special or different? Then why have other kids been labelled ‘special’? Some require help in behaviour management, some in gross/fine motor skills, some in speech, and maybe some need support in all aspects. But they are still themselves. They are still children.
So why the rant? I guess I’m just trying to say that we should not categorise children, and should look at them in an inclusive manner. If we condition our generation and the ones to come ahead into realising that everyone is the same, and not look or think of people differently, then maybe we’ll be living in a better place.
Maybe with more awareness and sensitivity, a mother tomorrow will not be worried about bringing a child into this world, and will instead have hope. Hope that everything will be okay. Hope that humanity exists. And that my child will have an equal chance at a great, fulfilling life, like everyone else.
Image source: shutterstock
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