Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

By: Sarah Healy, Administrative Assistant, Division of Emergency Medicine

He’s doing it again and I’m cringing because I can tell by the look on their faces what they are thinking. “How rude” “She clearly hasn’t taught him any manners” “He’s too old to act like that”. And so it goes, my life with my child who has hidden issues that you can’t see.

If he was different on the outside, they would offer him compassion. If he had lost his hair due to chemo, they would pray for him and for me. If he needed an insulin pump they would offer him a different snack, they would work with his problems. I don’t want my child to have any of these things, I can’t imagine what the parents of children with those needs go through and how they cope; I pray for them and marvel at their strength. What I want is for people to recognize that not all children suffer with issues you can see.

He’s different. He is quirky and wonderful. He has a heart the size of Texas. He tells the best jokes and gives the best hugs in the world. He is paralyzed with anxiety. He struggles with a sensory disorder. He sometimes can’t control his outburst and his movements. He invades your space but does not want you to invade his. He is special and he is mine.

When you say hello and he doesn’t answer you, don’t think “how rude”, think “how sad that he can’t bring himself to speak”. When he refuses the popsicle you have offered him, don’t think “she clearly hasn’t taught him any manners” instead wonder how it must feel to be the only child not eating a snack because you can’t bare the feeling in your mouth. When he can’t stop his movements or is having an epic meltdown don’t think “he’s too old to act like that” instead say a silent prayer that he feels better soon.

Don’t allow him to get away with bad behavior but don’t persecute him for things he can’t control. Just because you can’t see something physically wrong with someone doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering. Be compassionate to the people that suffer on the inside and to the people that love them. Get to know the child my boy is, judge him by the size of his heart not his challenges. See him through the eyes of his mother for his perfectly imperfect self who couldn’t possibly be loved more than he is.


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