It never fails.
I took Ms. P to get her hairs cut the other day. It is all one length with no bangs, and I don't get it trimmed all that often because a) it saves me some money and b) she isn't a huge fan of getting her hair cut.
Anyhoo, when we are in a situation where she might freak out a bit, I try to warn the person we are dealing with that she is special needs and may not truly understand what the person is saying to her, and that she has difficulty communicating verbally.
If I had a buck for every person who says, "What, this adorable angel is special needs? Are you serious? She certainly doesn't look like a special needs child," I would have the money for that very expensive purse I've been eyeing lately.
And this is where I have to keep my eyes from rolling far, far back into my head because I want to ask them what exactly does a special needs child look like?
Why does a child have to look like they have a disability for people to accept that they have one?
I suppose in my pre-special needs child past, I wasn't as aware of the huge and broad spectrum of disabilities that children can have, but I certainly wasn't stuck in a place where I thought only kids who were in wheelchairs or who had Down's Syndrome were the only ones who qualified as special needs.
This probably plays into the whole stigma our society has against disabilities that involve the brain and not the body. Because she certainly does look perfectly healthy. And my own family has even accused me of "wanting" something to be wrong with her. Does no one realize how difficult it is for a mother to look at her child and admit that there might be something "not normal" about them?
I am truly lucky that my daughter's prognosis is fairly good, and that they expect her to be at peer level in a few years. But oh, the effort to get her there. The hours and hours of therapies that she has to endure. And yes, they are structured in a way that could be construed as play, but have no doubts that she is expected to work during her sessions. Two days out of the week she has a one-on-one session with her speech pathologist as well as turning around and attending her speech-immersive preschool. I can tell that she is more exhausted at the end of the day on these days, and my heart hurts for her a little.
But maybe it shouldn't because she doesn't look like there is anything wrong with her.
Jeebus, I need some ice cream.