This is in response to an LHJ April 2012 article, "I'm JoJo, Can You See Me Now?"
1. Don’t feel sorry for us. Who needs sympathy? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, it doesn’t work for us. 2. Don’t give our child dirty looks or us when they decide to exhibit their own unique behaviors. Hey, we are all different and react in our ways to various situations, so back off, why don’t you. If anything, offer some help, that’s most appreciated. 3. Don’t say, “I’m so glad my child(ren) is/are healthy”. Our child is healthy, they aren’t sick. They don’t have the flu. Children with autism have neurological disorders that affect the way they socialize, talk, etc… not an illness. 4. Please don’t exclude us from your social circle. Our kids need to learn from yours and we like to talk to other parents too. 5. For the doctors, at least some out there, never tell a parent that their child won’t go far in life, never do anything; you will eat crow. 6. For some teachers, not all, we parents are not stupid, nor are we an emotional wreck over our child’s disability. We want to work with you, and if we see that a change needs to takes place, please cooperate and make an effort to accommodate. We want what is best for our child, and we are trying to help you too. 7. No name calling please, that’s just wrong. Just shows how ignorant one can be. May be fun at the moment, but you are really hurting us and our loved ones. Think before you speak. 8. For caregivers, please expand your horizons and include the special needs community. Seems most of the day cares out there or individuals just don’t have an interest in tending to someone who has special needs. Why? All parents need a break sometimes. 9. More opportunities not only for the younger kids, but also for the older ones is also needed. The older disabled individuals sometimes get less to do and that’s just not right. They need activity too. Even past the teenage years. 10. Most importantly, understanding. How? Ask us questions, and you will learn! We don't mind, really, it’s something we like doing. Curiosity shows you're interested and want to break out of that so-called "comfort zone" and realize that our kids and us are actually real people too. And for the record, they drive us nuts, too.
Mrs. Sklar, you couldn't have expressed how the rest of us feel any better! You rock! And Johanna, you are one, smart, pretty, young lady! You make one cool dancer too! Go show the world what you can do!