There are lots of misconceptions out there about kids with special needs. Over the years, I've heard everything from "Does he like to be around other kids?" to "How can he have cerebral palsy and walk?"
I think people have misconceptions about parents of kids with special needs, too.
Sometimes, I get the distinct feeling that....
...people think I must be a super-nice person because I am raising a kid with special needs. OK, those of you who come here regularly may have gleaned that I am not evil, but there are far nicer people in the world than me. Maybe billions of them. Once, I even killed a goldfish. Also? I didn't have a choice in the matter: I got a kid with special needs. Of course I'm raising him and doing my best to help him along. That doesn't make me super-saintly. That makes me a mom.
...people think I have endless amounts of patience. Actually, I work hard at that. I've always liked things done quickly. You can imagine how nuts I drove my parents growing up ("ARE WE THERE YET? ARE WE? WHEN WILL WE BE THERE? HOW LONG IS TWO HOURS? ARE WE THERE YET? ARE WE?") And then I had Max, a kid who is going through life at his own pace. That took a whole lot of getting used to. Still working on the patience thing. Are we there yet?
...people think my life is filled with sadness. Although it was a lot more so in the first couple of years after Max was born, and I still have flashes of grief, I never sit around feeling sorry for him—or for myself, either. Except when my pants won't quite close.
...people think they need to be extra-careful about what they say around me. Especially moms of typical kids, who might not think we have much in common. I may have to deal with things they don't (therapy, neurologist, medications, blah, blah) but there's plenty of regular-parent stuff I juggle—a kid who'd like to eat chocolate ice-cream 24/7, a kid who always wants to play on the computer, a kid who fights with his sister. Word: Feel free to joke with me about Max's purple obsession and car washes, just like you'd joke with another parent about their kids' quirks. Because it's funny, not sad. It's OK to treat me like I have a "typical" kid. In many ways, I do.
Do you ever feel people have misconceptions about you as the parent of a kid with special needs? How so? If you don't have a kid with special needs, have you ever made assumptions like these about other parents?