Quote from mercyteapot
We love our children and do everything we can for them, just like parents of typical kids. Why is that so hard for certain people to 'get'?
DD #2 has a stepson with CP and a son with spina bifida. And she has a daughter and another son with learning disabilities. She and I have talked at length about the perceptions (and misperceptions) others have about anyone with differences.
We've come to the conclusion that people who see the parents of special needs kids as saints don't understand that you rise to the challenge incrementally. They know they couldn't step into my daughter's role and carry her current load, and it overwhelms them to even think about doing so. What they don't get is that ten years ago, she couldn't have done what she is doing today either. Her capablities grew with her kids' needs.
They also don't understand that when it's your kid, you see the child first and then the physical condition. For them, it's just the opposite and it does make a difference.
As for the terminology, I don't see any easy answers. I do hate the word crippled. In our family, crippled has become short-hand for pathetic and pitiful and reeking of cheap sentimentality. Joseph (the 9 yo with spina bifida) will try to play the "poor little crippled boy" routine on people who don't know him till his mom tells him to knock it off. He doesn't see his inability to walk as devastating. To him it's more of an annoyance. He and his 6 yo brother have always gotten into plenty of trouble. He's the brains of the operation and the little guy is the brawn.
Disabled is less offensive to me so long as it's focused on the actual disability and not used to discount the entire person.
Handicapped is more offensive than disabled. And it just sounds outdated.
I guess we're guilty of using "CP kids" or "spina bifida kids" or"wheelchair kids" or "special needs kids" but it's really a pain in the butt to always make a point of saying it the "right" way and I HATE political correctness with a passion.
One final note and then I'll stop rambling. Whenever someone reacts badly to my daughter disciplining one of her special needs boys, she says, "If he turns out to be a brat, that'll be a much bigger problem than sitting in a wheelchair." A few take offense, but most laugh. Before you know it, they start seeing a real kid in that chair.