I recently saw this video, The Eyes of a Child, and it's haunted me ever since. Because it's so telling and, in many ways, true to life.
It's produced by the Noémi Association, a nonprofit in France that hopes to change the way society views those with disabilities. The organization invited a group of parents and kids to play an "educational game," and taped the results.
To the children, the girl with special needs is just a kid making a funny face to imitate. The adults, however, don't join in. They appear uncomfortable, and clearly think it's wrong to mimic a child with special needs. One dad leans over to check on his child's reactions.
If you have a kid with special needs, you get what's going on. Often, adults view our kids as children to be pitied, ones wholly unlike other children—exactly why it seems so "wrong" to mimic them. Although the kids in this video engage, in real life they, too, sometimes keep their distance, unsure of what to make of a child who doesn't seem like them.
This video sends a clear message: Please, remember that kids with special needs are still children at heart. They like to play, have fun and enjoy life—just like any other child.
Here's how to talk to your kids about ones with special needs.