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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Natural Advocate

Just need to boast a bit. All of my children are amazing. They teach me so much and have opened my eyes to things that I never experienced before.

My youngest son, Patrick, did something today that adds to my amazement. Last Thursday night we were having a discussion about how much it bothers him when kids tease other kids that are challenged. He told me that he has witnessed a bit of this at school. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to address the kids at school about it. I suggested he first talk to his teacher.

Friday (the very next day) he came home and told me he had spoken to his teacher and the autistic support teacher for his grade level. They both thought it was a great idea. So they set up a time for Patrick to address his fellow students.

Over the weekend, Patrick wrote up what he wanted to say. I told him how proud I am of him and how much I wanted to be there when he did this. At first he wanted me there too. Then he said "Mom I don't want you to be there. I want the kids to know this is coming from me."

This morning, he made his presentation. His teacher emailed me:
"Patrick did an AMAZING job! In fact, he brought tears to my eyes. He was so sincere and passionate about what he was discussing, I truly believe it impacted the kids. The kids listened so intently and afterward they too shared people that they know that had challenges: cousins, brothers, friends, etc... It was quite a powerful morning. Thank you for raising such an WONDERFUL child!!"

I'm so very proud of him.

Here is what Patrick shared with his classmates:

"You may think this is boring, but it will change how others feel.

When it comes to people, there is no normal. Normal is just a setting on the washing machine. That’s a favorite saying of my mom and me.

I’d like to challenge the way you treat people with challenges. And I’m not just saying people that have autism, I’m saying about anything, blind, disabilities with speech, in a wheelchair, any challenge. I’m doing this because it bothers me when you tease, laugh at, or harass any kids with special needs. I have a brother that is challenged, I’m sensitive to this and it offends me.

How do you feel when someone teases you? Or leaves you out of a game? It hurts. Well you are hurting them and me too.

Everyone has differences, no matter who they are. I have differences, you have differences, and you have differences, everyone has differences. Some may be more noticeable than others. But they are just differences.

Are you afraid of someone that is different than you? Why? They are kids too, and they are one of us. Getting to know them can be fun and teach you new things. For example, my brother is very funny and he knows more trivia than this whole class combined.

Plus, you might just gain a new friend. You don’t have to become friends, but you should include them, be nice, not tease or laugh at them, or anything mean. There is just no reason for that. You’re only making it harder for them to be part of the group, and you’re missing out on getting to know them and how cool and fun they can be.

How about if you had a challenge in your life, how would you feel? Think about if you were in a wheelchair, or blind, or had trouble understanding what is going on, or had noticeable behaviors and someone laughed at you for that.

Keep in mind how you would feel. Treat people the way you want to be treated… nicely!"

1 comment:

  1. This story made me cry. How proud of him you must be!!! You have raised some beautiful sons, you should be proud of yourself as well. It is good to know there are real, kind and decent people out there in the world today. I am so glad you blessed us with "you".
    Alvie, aka, laceykat


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