Listening is the need of the hour
The worst thing about a disability is that the people see it before they see youEaster Seals
I have been sitting in my room to interact with many parents to guide them on the areas to be worked with their kid, the dos and don’ts ( assuming they ll follow all). I religiously perform my duty of sitting with them for hours to tell them what should they do, just with the thought that they should not waste the child’s crucial years of intervention to bring a change in their lives. However, meeting the parents one after the other had made me realise that it has been easy for me as an educator to push them forward to work with the child or take them a psycho-educational assessment, however, unaware what goes in a parent’s mind.
Being the parent of the child, they certainly wish the best for their child, though they still take days pondering over the idea. Why so? I generally scream this question loud in my head, until one day, a parent sat in my room and said “What will happen if I go for the assessment? Will my child be labelled for years and seen through that lens always? This question stayed with me for long and I have been pondering on this for a while.
The fear they have is somewhere right, as the society we live in works on ‘labelling’ for easy categorization and communication. However, in that process, the child’s self-esteem and confidence are taken for a toss. The words like ‘dyslexia’, ‘autism’ are looked with negative connotations than with the aspect of individuality. The system as a whole is closed to deviations and prefer all falling in the same box. Thus, the struggle of getting acceptance increases.
So, what could be done? Here is the easiest thing we all could do. ACCEPT, ACCEPT AND just ACCEPT (Always See Someone with Exceptional Personality and Temperament)! We need to accept that the individuals are unique beings who are there with their own strengths and weaknesses like you and me. You might be an excellent orator while I might be a talented dancer. But you do not count my weaknesses and put me down. Instead, you work along with me to help me either live with them or overcome them. So next time while you walk in the park or go for a movie and you meet an individual who ‘looks’ different, just given them a SMILE and accept. Do not let your judgemental mind take over and have assumptions. JUST ACCEPT! If a parent or colleague tells you that his child is autistic or dyslexic, just accept and listen to them. JUST ACCEPT!