Please don't use your child's special needs as an adjective

Malathi - posted on 03/29/2011 ( 71 moms have responded )

3

4

0

Hello Moms, I am new to this board and while browsing some old posts came across descriptions like "my autistic child" etc. Please mention it as a child with autism and not the other way. We must be sensitive to a child's every need even respect..

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 03/29/2011

25,219

36

3781

"I am a lil overweight and would hate it if someone would mention me as my fat friend or my fat daughter."

So malathi, would it be less offensive to you if someone said "My friend who is fat"? Somehow I doubt it.

Kate CP - posted on 03/29/2011

8,942

36

754

Seriously? I can't believe we're getting our knickers in a twist over this. It's not an insult to say "My autistic son". Hell, it's not even an insult to say "My retarded son" (if a child truly is mentally retarded, that is). We're turning something that isn't mean AT ALL into an insult.

Now if women are running around saying "My dumb autistic kid..." then yea, I'd be pissed about that. But to say "My autistic daughter made great headway today in therapy..." isn't rude or insulting.

We don't say "My cancer child; my allergic child; my ADD child; etc" because it's not proper grammar.

Kate CP - posted on 03/29/2011

8,942

36

754

...The child is autistic making the child an autistic child. It is what it is. If you're offended by that then really that's your problem.

Kim - posted on 03/29/2011

147

25

20

I agree with Malathi but seems a bit like she is choosing to be a victim and choosing to be offended by other people phasing it that way. They might possibly just not be conscious about the way they are describing their child...it might be all that they know. You shouldn't make things like that about you or about that child...it is their problem alone. Just saying...waiting for other people to change is the long road to happiness.

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

@ Neethu~

The comments that you are referring to where taken completely out of context. One was saying that others have done that, not that she has.
And the other did not say that they did not deserve respect. It was asking why they deserve MORE than any other person. She is asking for equal respect for all people, with no one person receiving more or less for any reason.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

71 Comments

View replies by

Katie - posted on 09/02/2011

28

51

2

bugger me! looking at comments made of late and have to laugh..I'm gunna be the cow here and tell everyone to mind there own buisness..wether I refer to my child as "autistic" or not is not ur concern, most of u posting comment have no idea what happens in our lives on a day to day basis..lol, and if we CHOOSE to refer to our children in such a manner it's not for our own benifit trust me..it's to remind narrow minded morons that all is not as it seems and to hold their tounges..none of this u should control ur child crap coming from people...we are talking full on verbal abuse, I've even had friends spat on...It takes a long time for us to accept that our children have special needs, a process most thankfully never have to deal with and in the end we are proud to be the parent of an "autistic and special needs" child, the same way u all rant on about how smart and spectacular ur children are. So for everyone that has an opinion about our reference to our children..wanna babysit for a week? Untill then...when u are dealing with people regularly calling ur child a retard, respect our right to say it as it is and place their foot in thier mouth before they have the chance to offend.

Lorna - posted on 08/28/2011

8

5

1

I always introduce my daughter by name first, but I do let people know she is special needs. I would rather people know she is mentally disabled before they label my child as "misbehaved". If you have a child that takes offense to being labeled as "my autistic child" than you are lucky, my daughter wouldn't understand one bit that she was being labeled. Sometimes the disability is the child, like in my case, my daughter is more mentally disabled than functional, so she is my disabled child with GDD. When people tell me that 'disabled children are a blessing from God I should feel lucky to have been chosen" all the ones who have ever said that to me get to go home to their total functioning children who will someday grow up and have a life of their own. I would never label another persons child and I take no offense to someone who does refer to their own as their "autistic child" personally could care less I am just trying to get through my day.

Sarah - posted on 08/06/2011

39

0

2

I think it also depends on the childs age a teenager may be embarrased if you tell ppl they have ADHD or ADD or something but other than that I think it's fine and it's just on a special needs website I doubt they are on facebook claiming "my artistic child did this today..."

Sarah - posted on 08/03/2011

39

0

2

If I refer to my child as a 'special needs' child I am doing it because the ppl I having a conversation with seems to not understand. I hate it when I began talking about my child or someone throws advice at me as if they know anything about my child. So to shut their mouth I will throw it 'special needs'. I think some parents with children wiht no problems sometimes (some not most) seem to be offended by a parent with a child with special needs because they have it easier it sounds stupid but that's how the ppl around me act. I am sick of ppl telling me about everything their child does and then tell me its cause I don't try or spend time with my child when I know I didn't make near as many mistakes as they do, drinking while pregnant, smoking in the house, smacking their child, laughing at them when they get hurt so they laugh it off. wth I do not want advice for ppl with an 'average' child cause they have no idea what another mom has to go through. So I every so often mention my child as a 'special needs' child because everyone around me seems to stupid to notice.

Nan - posted on 04/01/2011

3

0

0

Seriously??? Has the child Started the sweet & kind school system yet? If it's your child & it's not verbally abusive then I think it's ok to refer to ur child in print on a " circle of moms website " it's not called " circle of moms & their kids" geezzzzz.

Jodi - posted on 03/31/2011

25,219

36

3781

Gawd, really? Now we've politically corrected political correct......wonders just never cease.

Armanda - posted on 03/31/2011

63

13

10

Amber is right about how professionals are now being taught in regards to labeling. When I was taking my courses in elementary education, this topic came up several times. They are teaching that you should refer to the child and not the disability or disease, a child with ADHD, a child with autism. This is an attempt to be more sensitive and focus on the individual. And for all you PC lovers out there....I was also taught that the term PC is no longer PC! You are now supposed to say culturally sensitive! I personally don't find a problem with either way you say it. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Jaymi - posted on 03/31/2011

36

5

0

I have a son who has a severe form of autism. When I say he is autistic in conversations, it's to explain certain behaviors. My son looks like a typical child, but his behavior is difficult and erratic. I am not offended by either way of describing his autism. Temple Grandin, who is a famous professor with autism, refers to herself as autistic.

Katie - posted on 03/31/2011

28

51

2

No offence hun but if anyone is going to be offended by the way things are said it would be the parents of children with disbilities, as such a parent..I have no problem calling it like it is and to be honest, my son couldn't give a toss, he even has shirts that announce his autism and wears a bracelet to inform that he has austism and epeilpsy. I find it easier when people are aware of the situation, that way they can keep their comments to them selves. I'm proud of my "autisic child" and it's my opinion that matters when it comes to refering to my child. Try to focas on ur own life.

Laura - posted on 03/31/2011

32

6

10

What got me upset once was when another mother I was talking to on the phone about my youngest daughter said 'I know she has problems'. That made me wish I could reach through the phone and slap her.

Doreen - posted on 03/31/2011

75

22

0

Jennifer the lady whispered to you that the child is autistic and not to be weirded out so you are prepared if he does behave strangely. And they do! I am not saying these kids aren't absolutely amazing people - they are, but lets just bring it back to real life and not so intertwined in lingo... people whisper to you the child is autistic because......... wait for it............ they try and empower you...byt educating you about a situation, so that you can deal with the situation that won't offend the child or mother.

Realllyyyy??? It is an enirely NEW situation if you don't know anyone who has autism and well like anything new you aren't always prepared for what is coming.... so mom's with autistic children or children with autism ??? Please be a little more sensitive to people who have never experienced it or who are unsure and frightened by the resonating noises they sometimes make or how rough they can be. Why on earth would we worry about how to phrase things. If we act out of love towards the child or mother of the child, it doesn't really matter if we phrase it wrong... what matters is that we care! WE love. I have a friend with an autistic child (or the other way around for the sensitive) and he once bit someone just to feel what it would feel like to bite them - they had no feeling their thumb for 6 months. It was taken in good spirits but the naked truth is people don't expect that behaviour from children under normal circumstance - so it is a bit of a double edge blade... don't say but say? I say as long as you there in love "it's all good" who gives about the details if my heart is pure?!

Jo - posted on 03/30/2011

32

9

2

what about the individual? There seems to be a few people here who are themselves defined by such terms & don't have as much of an issue with it as the 'professionals' who, as usual, seem to know far more than those in the situation! I was hyperactive as a child (not ADHD it was way before that & so not even close) & my mother NEVER referred to me as her 'hyperactive' child... I was always her baby (youngest of 3) My hyperactivity was only mentioned if it was relevant so if someone is posting or commenting on a post then to say my autistic child would simply be simpler.

Firebird - posted on 03/30/2011

2,660

30

521

OOH OOH Neethu has a great idea!! Anyone wanna come to volunteer in my home? My AUTISTIC daughter and I would love to have you! You can start by washing the dishes! Or you can help teach her to pick up her toys! We have a lot of trouble with that one. =)

Neethu, I understand perfectly well what my daughter goes through everyday. I also know what I go through every day. I just don't like to whine about it. She is Autistic. I have no problem with anyone referring to her as such and I don't believe that she deserves any more respect than any other being living on this earth.

Malathi - posted on 03/30/2011

3

4

0

When from childhood we teach children to be courteous of other's feelings, we should also model them. If we as adults put the special needs before mentioning the identity, how can we expect children to be respectful of their peers with special needs for who they are ? I am not advising or commenting on a parent's right .My intention is not that. I remember once how whoopi goldberg explained the differnce between terms of endearment between her and Eizabeth for being an African American( The view). But I strongly feel like mutual respect and consideration is very important to achieve full inclusion in school as well as society.

Jodie - posted on 03/30/2011

65

62

6

From reading this, I feel the entire conversation here has gotten out of hand. The OP's issue was how parents refer to their OWN child, not somebody elses. I don't understand why somebody would take offence if parents are referring to their own child as "my autistic child". As parents with special needs children, it's up to them how they decide to phrase their words. Nobody is saying that people should be able to refer to somebody else's child in a way those parents find offensive. As with any parent, it's your right to protect your child when you feel they've been mistreated/misjudged/mislabled. If you take offense, simply let the offender know you don't like what was said, explain why and offer better phrases.

I think everybody here needs to take a step back and take a deep breath. Picking a word or sentence from a post and taking it out of context is simply fueling a fire that shouldn't have been started in the first place. With that being said, I'm choosing to bow out of this discussion.

Krista - posted on 03/30/2011

12,562

16

842

My thoughts on this are that if the parents of a child with autism occasionally choose to refer to their child as "our autistic child", then that is their prerogative and their right to do so. And if parents of a child with autism do NOT want their kid referred to as "autistic", then other people should be kind enough to respect that.

However, the latter group of parents should realize that most people do not mean offense, and that it is completely unreasonable to get pissy about someone referring to their child as "autistic" if that other person does not know about the parents' preferences.

It's a fine point of semantics, and people aren't mind readers.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

Yes it seems as though you simply read the last sentence of both of our posts. And I agree with Kate..why do they deserve more respect? Isn't the whole point of this convoluted discussion that we should be treating children with autism fairly and trying to give them a normal life?

Kate CP - posted on 03/30/2011

8,942

36

754

I'm not saying they DON'T deserve respect. I'm asking why you think they deserve more respect than any other person who has to deal with any number of equally difficult disabilities?

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

Neethu- to explain my statement..I wasn't saying this is how I feel or my opinion.
I'm telling you that I have actually had a conversation with someone before I was about to meet a mutual friend and her child. This person said to me (in that whispered kind of way) "Oh, don't be wierded out by Shelly's son..he's autistic" No lie! This was actually said to me and I was thoroughly offended. But my point was she said it because she didn't want to be embarrassed if he did something that SHE assumed I would think is unusual. And that kind of behavior from the adult is why I'm sitting here defending the point of re-phrasing how you say something

Neethu - posted on 03/30/2011

18

14

2

(as if to instantly make an excuse for any misbehavior should the child "act out") .... WOW .
"Why does any one for any reason deserve more respect than another person? ".. April 2nd is Autism awareness Day . All the mom's who dont agree or dont understand what these kids go through on a daily basis should go volunteer in some special needs classes for a week.

You are welcome to have your opinion. You are welcome to call them by any name :) Freedom of speech and freedom of expressing yourself .

But once you are in their class , you will know the life , you will know the difficulty in speech , in behaviour , in social skills.

I would suggest if you go volunteer in some parents homes . What their life is. Their entire week goes by with therapy sessions just teachign their kids how to just talk and just play with a simple board game , whereas it a very simple thing with a normal typical growing kid.

WOW ...am amzed with all of you mom's blaming these kids as ACTING out and why deserve respect .

Thank you .

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

I'm pretty sure we've said several times now that we don't actually care how you say it. Right?

It's about explaining WHY it's not silly, goofy, or overly sensitive to think about the way things are being phrased and the inferences that can be made from that phrasing.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

Well, like I've said (three times now) You have a right to phrase things however you choose to. And people have the right to dislike your choice of words. I'm not really trying to debate..just stating the facts. And also trying to defend Malathi's opinion when many chose to jump down her throat for being too sensitive.
And for the record..yes I'm Noah's mom, but I'm also Adam's wife, Wendy's daughter, Lori's friend, etc, etc

I am many things and if everyone that knew me or met me just called me Noah's mom ALL the time, I would feel like people didn't know about or appreciate the many other facets that make up my life.
Personally, I think Malathi is wrong about this particular forum because it's not done out of malice but for ease and to seek help and info. But I have heard people actually use this term to describe their child or someone else's before I even met the child (as if to instantly make an excuse for any misbehavior should the child "act out")

Kate CP - posted on 03/30/2011

8,942

36

754

"...These kids are a miracle from GOD. They Deserve more Respect than anyone else..."

Why does any one for any reason deserve more respect than another person?

Kate CP - posted on 03/30/2011

8,942

36

754

"Btw Jennifer, I personally, am not the least bit offended by someone asking me to phrase something a little differently when referring to their child. I'm offended by being asked to phrase something differently when referring to my own child."

I'm gonna ditto that. That was my whole point. If *I* want to call *MY* child an autistic child that is *MY* choice. Now, if I'm referring to *YOUR* child then obviously I should acquiesce to your preference.

The references to making up words was in regards to the statement that the only reason why we used the word autistic was because we made it up. Duh. We made up all words.

Neethu - posted on 03/30/2011

18

14

2

I agree with malathy. We have a Special needs son. He has a diagnosis of Autism . But I dont call him AUTISTIC.
If you have one you would know how to call them or address them :)
So this conversation is irrelevent to people who dont live with a special needs child and dont know what it is live a life with a special needs child.

These kids are a miracle from GOD. They Deserve more Respect than anyone else.

Life will never be easy or them from Preschool itself !!!!
SO I dont think They need a Label from their own parents.
As Someone mentioned , We are their own Advocates.

Thank you

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

I need to join that community. I've been on PD&HT for years, but that one has slowed down a lot recently.

Firebird - posted on 03/30/2011

2,660

30

521

Haha Amber, I'm having a great time with this thread. =) As soon as I read the op, I thought to myself that this conversation would be great for the Debating Moms community.

Doreen - posted on 03/30/2011

75

22

0

I agree if you are a psychologist or a teacher that you lean towards politically correct... but on this site we dealing with so many different ages, cultures, religions and educational backgrounds that it is ok for me if you not that politically correct.

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

I find it a little amusing that this is a debate now :)

I'll say again, I don't personally have a problem with which words are said. I'm just pointing out that there is a valid reason behind the change of language :)

Doreen - posted on 03/30/2011

75

22

0

Thanks Malathi for bringing that to our attention - however, you can't be super sensitive in these conversations, some people just say it as they feel - YOU got to try and read between the lines and it is personal preference. No matter how you phrase it - It doesn't change the fact that the child has autism or any other need or disability.

Firebird - posted on 03/30/2011

2,660

30

521

Btw Jennifer, I personally, am not the least bit offended by someone asking me to phrase something a little differently when referring to their child. I'm offended by being asked to phrase something differently when referring to my own child.

Firebird - posted on 03/30/2011

2,660

30

521

Your name is out too Kate! I could be wrong, but at some point in time, I'm pretty sure someone made up the word 'Kate' as well. We shall all be nameless! Mwah ha haa

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

And as we're sitting here debating, I've looked at several different medical sites, and the word "autistic" does not even appear on any of the pages for me to give you a history of it....

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

Where do you find that autistic has always been a word and autism is created?
The research that I found says, "The word "autism," which has been in use for about 100 years, comes from the Greek word "autos," meaning "self."

Of course words are made up, that's part of life. Where did anybody say don't make up words? This has nothing to do with whether or not a word is "made up" because every word in every language was made up at some point. Let's not debate the irrelevant.

And yes, of course, psychologists, psychotherapists, and other medical professionals who have studied and done research are goofy for pointing out the detriments involved in the way that we use words to describe children.

You'll find that trained medical professionals who have studied these PDDs use this goofy language exclusively.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

I'm starting to feel like a broken record here..but again, you can say whatever the hell you want, just beware that other people have the right to tell you they don't like your terminology. You seem to be very offended that someone might ask you to phrase something a little differently when referring to their child. I don't think it's really that big of a deal if someone would rather you refer to their child and not the ailment. And, I never said we should stop making up words..my point was that we created the word autism to name the disease and the word autistic to describe the symptoms not the human being who has them

JuLeah - posted on 03/30/2011

3,133

38

681

Yah, I hate that as much as someone calling me the short women, or the Jewish woman ..... I have a name.

Kate CP - posted on 03/30/2011

8,942

36

754

So we shouldn't make up words any more? So internet is out. So is Superman. Telephone and Phone, would have to go. As would refrigerator and fridge. And...*drum roll* AUTISM. Yes, we made up that word, too. Autistic was always a word, it wasn't morphed into being because we misused the word autism.

The English language is constantly reforming itself and developing new terms and words. If you don't like the phrase "autistic person" for whatever reason then fine, bully for you. However, it's not because people are misusing the word or grammar. It's because for some goofy reason people think that using an adjective can some how define a person completely. Personally, I think that's kind of silly. I have a blonde daughter. That's not ALL that she is, though.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

Lol..thank you for correcting me! And yep..that sounds pretty ridiculous too even if it is proper grammar

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

"My cancerous child" would be proper grammar, and it still isn't used.

Jennifer - posted on 03/30/2011

60

58

0

Thank you Amber..that was the point I was trying to make earlier when I said we don't refer to our children as "my cancer child" etc. It's not proper grammar as someone so eloquently pointed out..but why do we even have a descriptive form of the word autism? Because we made it up!
And yes, like you said retarded used to be acceptable but nasty people have made it a nasty word. Seeing as autism is a developmental/social disability, I think you might change your tune if you heard people saying things like " Oh, she's so autistic..she never talks to anybody" or "Hey what the heck?! You haven't called me in days..what are autistic now?"
This isn't about being PC or whatever..it's just about being aware of other people's feelings. Some kids/adults may not take offense, but others might. So really..there's no need to get your panties in a bunch about a person simply trying to inform you. You have a right to say whatever the hell you want! But just realize that someone may call you on it if they don't like your verbiage. That's their right too

Amber - posted on 03/30/2011

1,909

13

144

@ Jodi~
"My beautiful sweet daughter.

My autistic daughter"

I guess to me, the difference is that beautiful is meant to be an adjective. It is, by definition, a describing word. Autism is a disease; it is not an adjective or a describing word. It has become an adjective by saying autistic.

I don't judge people who say it either way. Almost every post on autism that I have seen has been asking for help, or offering help. Mother's who care enough to take time out of their days to ask or answer questions on autism are good moms in my book.

I was just adding information for others on why clinicians and some parents are asking that this change in wording be made. It's just about focusing on the child and not using a disease as an adjective.

Ohhh, and retarded isn't part of medical vernacular any more either. There is a negative connotation connected to it because the general public has started to use it as an insult word. The new terminology is intellectual or developmental disability.

I think almost all of these reforms are being put in place because the public abuses the words and turns them into something negative. It's not meant to start an uproar; it's just trying to make sure that children who already have the odds stacked against them aren't made to feel worse.

Stephanie - posted on 03/30/2011

62

15

6

I think Amber N. said it best, it's just trying to say it differently gives the 'child', more power than the disease. Do what you like with the info.

Stephanie - posted on 03/30/2011

62

15

6

I think Amber N. said it best, it's just trying to say it differently gives the 'child', more power than the disease. Do what you like with the info.

Jodie - posted on 03/29/2011

65

62

6

This is obviously just my opinion but I really don't think we have any right to judge how parents with special needs children refer to them. If they choose to say "my autistic child" then that's their right as the parent. They are the ones who have to deal with the day to day challenges that they're facing. Who are we to criticize them on their choice of wording?

Medic - posted on 03/29/2011

3,922

19

550

I am very much with Jodi...I am seeing the same thing she it. All of these words simply describe the child...by saying my autistic son all that is being said is the son who is autistic. Just as saying my beautiful daughter simply means my daughter who is beautiful. Nether of which ultimately define the child, just describe part of the child. I think people are so freaking stuck on being PC that they are making issues out of non-issues. Why should we hide who they are? Doing that simply teaches there is shame where there should be none.

Jodi - posted on 03/29/2011

25,219

36

3781

I just keep going back to something here:



My beautiful sweet daughter.



My autistic daughter



The difference is, by raising this issue, that you are focusing on autistic being a negative word. Or do you also object to beautiful and sweet being used as adjectives? By focusing on not using autistic in the same manner, you are actually projecting a negative image on the word autistic, which in turn, projects a negative image on the disorder. After all, beautiful and sweet do NOT define my daughter, but they are a part of who she is, along with all the other parts. Such as my stubborn daughter. My blue eyed daughter. My daughter with blue eyes. My daughter with a stubborn streak. It means the same thing.

Katherine - posted on 03/29/2011

65,420

232

4849

Has to be Emma because I've never heard that either. I really think it's up to the parents to choose what they want to say ans how they say it. If they want to say, "My autistic child", so be it, if they want to say something else, that's ok too.

Kate CP - posted on 03/29/2011

8,942

36

754

Maybe it's a regional thing? Because living in Dallas, TX I've never heard it.

Chels - posted on 03/29/2011

21

0

1

Hi kate, yep - happens all the time - Im in qld, australia. It happens a lot to people with down syndrome. He's down syndrome. I really hate it. To a degree, i do agree with the parent being able to say what they like - except when the child communicates that they don't like it, as I have heard many times over with some of he people I have worked with. Im actually surprised by how passionate people are about this topic - Its a good subject to raise!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms