Must Love Fries

Posted on: September 8, 2014

Someone on Facebook recently shared this story with me. It’s about a group of kids playing a prank on a kid with autism who thinks he’s about to do the ice bucket challenge. Instead of ice-water they allegedly poured bodily fluids (urine etc.) over him.

Ice Bucket Challenge

I’m sharing the link to the news story and will leave it up to you to decide whether or not you want to watch the actual video. Between us, I haven’t been able to press play.

Unfortunately, as parents of special needs kids, these are things that we worry about all the time. What if this happens to our kids? Would they tell us? What about our kids who are not able to speak/communicate? How would we react if we knew?

What these kids did to that boy was, without a doubt, cruel and absolutely wrong. But this is learned behavior. They were not born with thoughts of doing these things. Now, this is not about laying blame at the feet of parents, however, as adults we all need to keep in mind the influence we have on the kids in our lives. How you talk about the disabled in your home determines how your kids interact with the disabled? You may mot be telling them to go out and do mean and cruel things, but if you speak of the disabled in less-than terms, they will be treated as less-than by your children. Teachers, what you say in your classroom impacts the relationship these kids have with each other? Playground and classroom hierarchies etc. manifest this way. I’m more empathetic towards kids (even though I struggle with it sometimes) who commit some of the horrific acts you hear about being done to our special needs kids/adults. But we all need to recognize that what we do and say has consequences – consequences which are sometimes borne out in ways we never saw coming.

At the end of the day I hope that whatever disciplinary action is taken involves these kids getting involved in/doing something meaningful for kids (and their families) with autism. So they get a feel of what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes… Something called empathy.

After all we’re not born loving fries more than broccoli.


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