And then they reach kindergarten age, and life gains a whole new level of trials.
The kids that used to play with Sam are ready to go to school and Sam missed the deadline (thank goodness) and still has another year of special preschool. But "normal" kids that are kindergarten age have now discovered that Sam isn't as chatty as the rest of them. That he doesn't do what they tell him to do, and goes and does whatever HE wants to do. Sam is also a lot smaller than the other kids his age... which sadly makes him prime for the picking... to be bullied.
I know I have mentioned bullying before. I hate it! I don't think it is funny. I don't think it is okay. And if a child is bullying my Sam and I see it, I WILL say something. It's one thing to pick on kids their own age, size, and mental level, but to pick on and bully a "special needs" child is lower than low.
Last night Ben took the kids out to play on the playground outside our back door so I could clean the house. He came in a little later, fuming, seeing-red angry! I don't think I have ever, EVER seen Ben so mad! Apparently, Sam had been the object of name calling... he was the "stupid boy" on the playground.
I hurt for my little Sam like only a mother can hurt for her son.
I thought about it all night. Ran scenarios through my head. What should I do? Do I talk to the parents? Do I sit back and wait for "next time" and then confront it then? Do I keep my boys in the house when other kids are out? I really didn't want to cause problems. I like everyone to be happy and friendly... and this was not a happy and friendly subject. My heart was troubled! And I hate that!
This morning when I woke up, I decided to write this post. Not bashing on the kids or their parents, I am just not that way. But writing a plea. For those of you out there who have a child who is "special needs" or even just bullied because they are different, know what I am saying here: Parents, please, please, PLEASE teach your children that some kids are born with different kinds of struggles and trials in life. That because of health and other issues all children don't talk the same, they don't walk the same, and they don't look the same. But that does not mean they are stupid. NEVER stupid.
I ache for my little Sam and his struggles every single day. Not only is he picked on where there are other kids, but when it comes to adults he is ignored. There are lots of people out there who don't know how to interact with kids. Oh, you know what I mean.... the kissing couple on the picnic blanket at the park that quickly packs up and runs away when they see you coming with 5 kids... Or maybe you have a friendly kid like I do and loves to say "hi" to everyone we see. They only say it back and acknowledge him maybe 40% of the time and that's pushing it. Then enter in the equation that he is speech and language impaired and that adds a whole new dimension of how grown adults deal with him. Basically, he is ignored... a lot. Good thing he has a loving family, right?
Now, I didn't write this post to bash or put down anyone. I'm not challenging anyone's parenting skills, because heaven knows I have a lot to learn myself! I just want to raise a little awareness out there. There are literally millions of children like my Sammy in one way or another. And I admit that I used to be one of those adults who didn't know how to deal with children with special needs. BUT I always loved them, and I showed it in any way I knew how. I guess you could say that Sam changed me. I grew with Sam.
Adults out there, don't sell these special children short. Give them a chance and you will be amazed at what they know and what they can do!! Sammy is a brilliant little guy! You should see him on the computer, doing a puzzle or calculating math -- it's amazing!
Please, just love them... special kids like my Sam, and the rest comes easy.
And teach your children to love them too.