I’m sick of the way people treat and talk of those with special needs.
Even Christian magazines with articles written by parents of special needs adults are sickening.
The “uplifting” journal submissions are nauseating.
And terribly ironic: as always, the article thesis is that people with special needs should be accepted. However, the article title and the very phrases in the article only single out and condescend over those who do have special needs.
And of course, every article always ends with the paragraph, “Special Needs People are really so loving everyone needs one.”
Can’t they see what they’re doing? They create a stereotyped poster child out of their loved one, have absolutely no goals for him or her, and ultimately “accept” their “alien” for who he/she is: a personality who the parents/guardian/friends define by statistics and stereotypes. Ultimately, a human with special needs becomes a “thing” and not the person that he or she truly is.
I just read an article called, “Everyone Needs a Mark.” Now, I’m not trying to bash the article because I really respect some of the article truths, and the author. But to me it hurt to read it, though I respect what it is trying to say.
The article title is itself offensive (if I have any grounds apart from Christ to be offended at anything.) Can special needs children not get away from being categorized and stereotyped if it doesn’t start in their family? Mark had special needs. The narrator said, “when he was born, they knew something was wrong.” I’m 100*/* sure that the parents would have preferred that phrase ommited from the article.
I’m a writer and know that clichés are put in for added drama. But sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone. After all, it went on to say the parents insisted their was nothing wrong with Mark, even after his diagnosis of DS. Clearly, the article reflects more of the journalist than anything. Is DS something that’s really “wrong?” Its not a disease, and saying that something is “wrong” with it slaps God in the face, denying that He foreordained according to the perfect council of His will all that comes to pass. It also, like many other articles, used the word retard. It tried to describe that Mark was high functioning “with mild to moderate retardation.” Clearly, the writer sees special needs as a flaw, not the person. A flawed person, someone less than himself or herself, rather than someone who learns differently and can accomplish great things.
This is my biggest concern about Christians and special needs.
The unbeliever cannot love. What is love but Christ laying down His life for His sheep? What is our love except that we obey Him, and by doing so love others? Apart from Him, he says in 1 John, there is no love.
But, the believer is in Him. There is love. So the Christian should be the very first person to redefine special needs. Of course, there is a wide spectrum of needs lumped within that phrase. Really, anyone who needs physical care in any way, super mild to severe is included.
But in general, a “diagnosis for life” should not define the child’s (and Lord willing, adult’s) life.
So many parents ask their kids what they want to be when they grow up. Their kids with special needs answer. Parents smile and encourage the response, and even share their responses on social media.
“Millie says she wants to be a doctor and help people when she grows up. My girl brings love everyday!”
But then the parents put kids in special work programs condemning some kids who have dreams of college and careers to stuffing envelopes. Instead of actually doing as best they can to fulfil their child’s dream in even a small way.
If they actually believed that anything is possible with God, would they take the dreams of their special needs children more seriously? Because I assure you every human has a soul. People with special needs have one just as real as yours.
Don’t try to limit God. Your are not God. Give people with special needs a chance.
Maybe he/she needs a job. Stuffing envelopes is a great job. But is that ultimately what he or she wants to do?
I get it. None of us can always do what we want. We shouldn’t either, it can be selfish.
But segregating people because of your diagnosis is hardly different from the sins of racism.
I know people with DS who do algebra, who own a restaurant, a clothing line, are artists and fashion models. I know people with DS who read college level and correct high schoolers on their poor reading abilities. Who read unabridged Alcott and Dickens front to back with full comprehension and don’t break a sweat. Who can carry on an adult conversation with anyone. I know people with autism who are on TV. In college. Mathematicians, musicians, professionals, writers. Geniuses by any standard. I know people with CP who run a business, call into talk shows, day trade and invest, and drive.
Everyone is different. Everyone needs Jesus. People with special needs are just like you and me. Stubborn, selfish, angry, mad at God. Sinners. And they need Jesus just as much.
But no matter the physical or mental boundaries of a person with special needs, they can accomplish great things if you believe that they can. Without surprise when they actually succeed. Because you can’t believe in them without first believing in the holy, wise, compassionate God. And nothing is impossible with God. ( Matthew 19:26) (except sin (heb 6:18) because it is impossible for him to be unholy.)