When you are someone with disabilities or are the caregiver of one, you learn quickly a few simple facts. Not everyone understands simple common courtesies. So as we blog and I think of things I'll include them here. I would love to hear your thoughts and solutions as well.
Special Manners #100:
Don't assume you know everything about this disability because you know somebody, who knows somebody who has this disability. You may even have a close friend or a family member dealing with it, but you still don't know it all.
Just like typical children, no two disabled or special needs kids are totally alike. I know Meg's autism. I know her quirks, sensitivities, and needs. I have several friends with children that have autism. I know some of the traits. We compare notes on what works and what doesn't but our children are very different.
Good meaning (or not) family and friends may not see your child as the special and unique individuals that they are. They may also see "nothing wrong" with your child if they can't see the disability. When they talk about your child they may even tell others that there isn't anything wrong. That can create a mess. I understand that not seeing my son have a seizure makes it hard to understand what we go through with him. On the other hand it doesn't make it not real.
The Manner: Don't think you know all there is to know about someone's life, disability, or struggle. Be accepting and open. Follow their lead, not your own idea of how things should go while keeping in mind that not everyone even needs you to pay them any special way and others may need you to adjust to them.