Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Is Wrong With People?

This is a disability meme I can get behind.
A friend of mine asked me to write a blog post.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate getting to write a blog post where I don't have to come up with an idea.

That's genius, people. In fact, if you have ideas, don't be afraid to throw them out there. I totally take requests.

Anyhow, she's been frustrated an hurt by meme's she's seen that poke fun at kids with disabilities. Some of them even use images of actual children.

So, someone has posted pictures of a child they love, only to have it taken and used to create an internet meme that pokes fun of them.

It's bullying at it's lowest.

I feel this personally, since I'm a "Special Needs" mom (which I only put in quotes because really, I'm a mom period, but have to make the distinction of being a mom who has kids with various and sundry diagnoses).

Since having kids with Special Needs, I've become part of a larger community of really incredible people. Strong parents, and strong kids.

Between us, our kids cover quite a range. Unfortunately, so do the memes.

This is one of the least offensive Autism memes out there:

How about one of the many that target Tourette's, but don't actually understand it :

I'll be honest, I can't even bear to print the ones that poke fun at kids with Achondroplasia (Dwarfism) or Down Syndrome. They literally hurt my heart.

So, I have to ask the question: What is wrong with people?

Autism is a real diagnosis that presents challenges for those who live with it. And for those who are severely affected, it presents incredible challenges for their whole families, the likes of which idiots making these kinds of memes can't even imagine.

Tourette's Syndrome is a neurological condition that causes physical and vocal tics, and does not cause all sufferers to shout random obscenities. I'd love to see the assholes who write these memes try to live that way for a day. I doubt it would be so funny after that. 

I have mentioned at least once before that my friend has had people on the street take pictures of her 3 year old son with Achondroplasia. I can't imagine the kind of callous disrespect necessary for someone to do that. And I can't imagine what it would be like for someone to think they had the right to stop and take my child's picture. Little People are not just curiosities.

My friend has not yet been charged with assault. Which I'm pretty sure means she's a better person than I am.

One of my oldest and dearest friends has a child with Down Syndrome. And I have a child who is developmentally challenged. I have watched as our kids struggled, and worked tirelessly to accomplish things that come so easily to other people. To see people treat their challenges as something to ridicule, as opposed to seeing how much they've accomplished and how much cause we have to celebrate...I'll be honest. It's hurtful.

These kids work twice as hard as everyone else, to get half as far, and yet they're not bitter and angry. 

They're not unkind. 

And I'll throw in another pet peeve of mine: The R-Word memes. I was going to post one of the many that include the word, but they honestly made me too angry.

So, let me explain, simply when it's okay to use the R-Word. Unless you are using the word for some kind of scientific term paper in which you are talking about the growth of something being retarded by the application of something else, refer to this:

Because the thing is, people who are developmentally delayed or challenged, they're not stupid. They're not lazy. They have their own skills, they want to learn, and they work harder than almost anyone else. And to try to insult someone by comparing them to these incredibly special people, is insulting to those with the disability, who deserve to be in better comparative company. 

The people who make these kinds of memes need to stop trying to cover up their own lack of wit or intelligence by highlighting their own ignorance. 

I wonder how much less funny they would find their own memes, if they had a child who suffered from one of these conditions. 

Really, I feel no reason to wallow in self pity of any kind. 

My kids are here. They're growing, learning, and thriving. And while I find these memes upsetting, and I hope people know the truth about kids like mine, I also will not spend a great deal of time and energy on the people who create them.

After all, I know they won't stop. These kinds of people rarely think beyond their own immediate self-interest, and would say that I'm just being sensitive and should get over it. 

I do take some comfort in the idea that these things say so much more about the people who write them, than they do about our kids or the other people they target. And I'm grateful that the people who make the memes are few (if prolific) and that in reality, even on the internet, we have been largely embraced by people who have supported us and cheered for us.

You make such a difference to families like mine. When we feel exhausted and overwhelmed, you listen and encourage us. 

Thank you for that.

And if you know someone who makes memes like this. Please feel free to share with them some colorful words. Tell them the message is from me.

Thank you for everything. Just one more favor if I may, please click the banner below which registers a vote for me. After all, a vote for me is a blow against idiocy. And who doesn't want that?

Thanks. You're the best.
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