What’s Wrong with her then? The question we all get asked, yet the question that everyone wonders whether or not they should ask.
Those that actually ask usually get told “ee you can’t say that!” by whomever they are with. I am here to say you CAN ask that, actually PLEASE ASK your questions. Don’t assume, don’t brush it off as she looks fine from a distance and please for god sake don’t give second looks - you are not invisible we can see your face and as parents we have learnt to read others expressions very, very well.
It is presumed to be rude to blurt out “what’s wrong with her then?” and in certain context I suppose it is, but we would always rather you ask. Talk to her and she will answer on her own, granted she may give you some cock and bull story and if you believe her then you deserve it when we laugh at you but otherwise we are happy to explain. We have always decorated Delilahs wheelchair spoke guards, your children are welcome to come see her wheels, we have always stood out, why try and hide? You tend to hear Delilah before you see her any ways… please don’t yank their hand, pull them away and apologise to me for them coming near as it causes soo many issues for your child and mine. For your child you are showing them to move away from people who are different, not to bother them as if they are annoyed by their presence, whereas Delilah loves seeing other kids - especially little ones and explaining what is on her wheels as we decorate them ourselves. For my child - you are one of the many who show her she’s different, as if she is contagious and no one should be near her. This can cause so many emotional issues that she will be unable to understand as her little brain is special, she is special, she is not to be feared or ignored, she is all things wonderful and funny. Give her 5 minutes of your time and she would show you that, and also tell you a bogey joke… but yea, its not funny but for the love of god please just laugh or we will be there all night!
We have been asked a lot of questions over the years, will she walk after surgery? Is it a boy or girl? (That was just a couple of weeks ago), have you had her tested (god knows what for), will she grow out of it?? Do you know her skin looks a bit dry?? And our favourite - do THEY know what’s wrong with her yet? Who is they? Because if they know and they’ve not told me i’m gonna be super pissed! This fictitious ‘they’ that people speak of is the professionals or practitioners (depending on which side of the fence you are on) in our children’s lives and obviously those that ask aren’t aware that ‘they’ ask as many questions as them - quite often stupider (is that a word?) questions too… My point here is to ask the questions, be polite and sincere, and speak to the child, even if they can’t speak back… they are listening and taking it all in. Ask even if it is another parent in the SEND world, they will be grateful of the conversation and it may create a friendship.
We are all guilty of giving a little look, checking someone out and eyeing them up and down… being a SEND parent doesn’t make me any less guilty of this at all… but maybe, just maybe if we all just bellowed “what’s wrong with her then??” more conversations would be had, systems may change and friendships would be created… And our children would grow up to accept everyone as they are… Tracey X