20 hours ago
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The stuff kids say about special-needs kids
A conversation on the beach with two kids who were observing Max.
Kid #1: "Why doesn't he talk?"
Me: "He's not talking yet."
Kid #2: "Why don't you teach him?"
Me: "We do. He's just not fully talking yet.
Kid #1: "Even when he's a grownup, he won't talk?"
Me: "I hope he will talk."
Adult questions about Max, I can handle. But conversations with kids—especially ones who are about Max's age, as these two were—get to me. Inevitably, I start wondering what Max would have been like if he could talk, and that's not a good place to go.
Sometimes, when I'm with Max and we're around other kids who don't know him, I watch them watching him. They tend to blatantly stare, as kids do, and look perplexed. Once in a while a kid will ask "Is he a baby?" Max doesn't yet understand what they're saying about him, which is a mixed blessing.
Are kids sometimes harder to handle than adults for you, too?