To the non verbal child,
I see the look on your face while your parent talks about you as you’re sitting right in front of us. I see the pain and horror in your eyes. I see how badly this affects you and how much you want to let your parent know you understand what they are saying. When they exploit to their friends and strangers your most vulnerable moment. You understand. I know you do. Despite what they say. Despite what they believe. You know every single word.
I hear your parent say they are your voice. I see them write, saying that you are voiceless. Oh, sweet child, don’t believe these lies. There is no one who doesn’t have a voice. You have a voice that’s you. You have a voice that’s unique. You have a voice that’s beautiful. If you cannot or do not speak, you are not at fault. You are not broken. And you can still be an advocate. You can still do amazing things. Not because you’re disabled, but because you’re YOU.
Having a voice isn’t just speaking. Having a voice is body language. Your hands. Your eyes. The way you tap your feet. The shy, sly looks you shoot me to make me crack a smile. They say you don’t understand humor, but oh, if they could only hear your laugh. They say you are incapable of speaking for yourself and standing up for yourself. But you make your preferences known for your activities, for your clothes, for your food. If you can do those things, you can advocate in yourself in other ways.
I read your mother exploiting your most vulnerable moments on the Internet. That at age twelve, you aren’t toilet trained. That at age six, you had a really bad accident in the soda pop aisle at HippeMart and your mom went into details about how awful it was for HER. I know every last detail of your meltdowns and sensory overloads. And quite frankly, I shouldn’t.
Precious child, I love you. I don’t know you. I may never interact with you and all I may be is words you read on your screen some day. But if I met you and you chose to honor me with your voice – however you chose to use it would be heard loud and clear.
And I said sometimes I hear my voice and it’s been here…
Silent all these years
EDITOR’S NOTE. READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING AND ABLESPLAINING.
I am not saying it is easy to be a parent. I am not diminishing how hard it is to have a child with disabilities. I welcome the voice of parents and parent advocates. But if it’s not something you would want posted about yourself on the Internet, if it isn’t something you would post about your non disabled child, do not post it about your disabled child. Full. Stop. No. Excuse. Peace out.