Parents of special-needs kids often have a lot to cope with: meltdowns, perseveration, echolalia, single-focusedness, sheer obliviousness. All this coping tends to drain away patience and sometimes even your ability to remain polite, especially when people who don’t understand get on your last nerve. Often at Wal-Mart. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe they’ve got some sort of blue-light special on last straws.
Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin says that special-needs kids will have “a friend and advocate in the White House,” if the Republican ticket is successful. She says this, no doubt, based on the fact that she is the parent of a special-needs child. So, isn’t she using her Trig as an excuse to get special treatment, i.e. to get people to vote for her?
Is that wrong?
I stopped in mid-rant today to contemplate whether I’ve used my children’s condition as a crutch/excuse from time to time, and had to conclude that I had. For example, the time I was running late to take Captain Oblivious to the eye doctor, and they’d given up on us, ready to close up shop. When I explained I’d been picking up the children from camp, and I got held up because of an issue with a therapist, and dropped the “A” bomb–autism–suddenly they turned on the equipment and welcomed the boy with a warm smile.
I’ve frequently mentioned the different difficulties we deal with at home and school to clients, to show them I can have some understanding of what they’re going through with their own children. In a recent case I had, I ended up being an expert witness of sorts for my client because the judge and the other attorney had no idea what Asperger’s Syndrome was or what it meant for a child. By explaining what our family went through–playing that “A” card–I was able to help my client successfully conclude his case.
And sometimes you just drop it to make the complaining person feel like a heel. (We’ll add up the karma points later.)
Of course there’s the big one: Disney World. By playing the “A” card at a Disney property, you get a magic pass that allows your whole family to go to the Fast Pass lane for many of the most popular rides. How does this help? Well, here’s one example: We went on the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster ride, and our wait was as long as it took us to walk up to the gate. That was it. The next car came up, and we were allowed on. If we’d gone the regular route, we’d have had to wait an hour or more.
So is it wrong?
In this case, I think it’s not. The nature of the issues our children have is that if we’d had to wait an hour for the ride, our children would not have been able to have that experience at all. We couldn’t have been patient that long without some sort of incident. On rides where it was clear it was only a 15-minute wait, we got in the regular line and took our turn. That’s a life lesson kids need to learn. But if it was use the pass or miss the experience–we used the pass.
The changes we saw in the children as a result of being able to experience the Disney parks didn’t happen just in those five days, but continued to expand them (especially Little Miss) over the next several months. We are very grateful for the chance to let them participate, and glad we could use the “A” card to help them. Here the card was played for their benefit.
As for the way it’s been played in the election? That one we’ll have to wait and see.