Robert Rummel-Hudson (You know him, Author of Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey with His Wordless Daughter), proud dad to Schuyler, had a post awhile back about a conversation that started because he shared that a music teacher was telling parents they couldn’t attend a demonstration at the middle school Schuyler would be attending. He then sent a note, then she sent a note and well, it felt wrong to him.
Someone made a comment on his Facebook update about hover/helicopter parents and he explains in this post his feeling about it and it hit a nerve with me. I am what could be (and probably have been) called a hover/helicopter parent. He much more eloquently communicates why it’s insulting for people to say this to parents of special needs kids.
He’s claimed this as his one thing NOT to say to parent like us:
“The term “helicopter parents” is meaningless, inappropriate and insulting to parents of kids with disabilities. Don’t say it to us. Don’t even think it about us. Save it for Toddlers & Tiaras.”
I’m not going to say anything different really than he shared in that post except to say that in my experience it pays to assume your child is the exception to the rule – as Rob and his wife, Julie often do. It’s mandatory that we go through life doing so in order to make sure our kids are protected, cared for, educated and in environments that help them flourish. If we don’t monitor the people and experiences they are supposed to have to reach their potential – whatever is it – who will?
I can tell you that I treat the kids’ education teams with respect and I expect the same. I can tell you that I expect them to work with me to find ways to reach my hard-to-teach children. No teacher who has the child’s best interest at heart considers over involvement a bad thing. Good teachers welcome us with open minds, hoping to find a nugget of information that will unlock something that is hidden in our kids.
We are the exception to the rule. Very nearly the entire world makes my kids the exception to the rule by placing expectations and standards of “normal” they can’t meet, they are treated differently by family, by friends, by wide groups of people who will never be friends. They are singled out as different and tested and monitored every single day of their lives.
I don’t mind saying we have to do things differently – like we’re the exception to the rule – in order for my kids to have half a chance. I’m so glad to be in a community here that know what this is like.
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