Yep, people still use these exact words ‘excuse me but what’s wrong with him?’
Shortly after Danger got home from hospital, we had Aunty Emma up from Melbourne helping us – doing the school run, cooking the dinners and keeping the wine glasses full 😉
I was front row with Danger at the dolphin show at SeaWorld, and Aunty Em was sitting behind us when the lady next to her – smiled and said “Excuse me but what’s wrong with him?’
Now I didn’t get the whole of the conversation (that would be eaves dropping!) but I know that Em is very diplomatic and answered in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do so at that time! The lady was satisfied with the answer along the lines of – ‘well, he used to have epilepsy, however he’s just had surgery and now he no longer has it’.
It is amazing that kids can have this type of surgegy and bounce back and thrive when they face a future without seizures. Unfortunately, the simple words of “what’s wrong with him?” formulates that because he is somewhat different – what, THIS scar?!, that something is wrong.
Of course, living with half a brain does invite some challenges that are quite obvious to the eye, he doesn’t have the co-ordination or verbal abilites of a typical child, but why should he, after what he’s been through?! However, in this case, less is more, because living with a full brain had dire consequences.
Danger is on a different level, and that’s great! I keep banging on that we are all unique but until we start to be loud and proud about the differences between one another.. it’s just another divide when we use questions like ‘what’s wrong with him?’
So instead, I invite you to look at it this way. Instead of ‘What’s wrong with him’ – you could try:
- I see he has a pretty decent scar there – I see he must’ve battled Batman and won!
- Cool scar! Do you mind me asking what the surgery was for?
- Cool scar! He has obviously had some challenges, but look at him now enjoying the show!
Some would say it’s not a big deal, that maybe I’m just making a mountain out of a molehill. However, I think it’s still important that if you do have a voice, that you try and use it wisely, try for the positive, not the negative. Try to invite positivity and open yourself up to learning something new.