Stupid Things People Say To Parents Of Atypical Kids

I stringing together letters that weave together the stories of my family.

Words can be beautiful when crafted by someone with a kind heart.

Words can soothe when spoken by a gentle soul.

But words wielded by ignorant people can leave a painful mark.

As my daughter happily drew lines on a chalkboard in our doctor’s waiting room, an older woman sitting beside me asked how old my girl is.

When I told her she said, “Awfully small for her age, isn’t she?”

The response in my head was, “Awfully stupid for your age, aren’t you?”

What I actually said was, “Yup. She’s our little girl.”

As my daughter drew, she and I communicated using signs. The woman leaned over and asked, “Does she talk?”

I explained that Avery has a speech delay, but is a proficient signer.

Without missing a beat this woman told me her sister worked at a school with kids more “far gone” than my child. Far gone?? She went on about how important it is to catch “these kids” early if they’re going to have any chance at all.

I sat silently wondering how much longer I was going to have to listen to this wisdom. 

“So, would she be considered special needs then?” she continued.

I would have preferred to slap her but instead answered, “I guess, but we just think she’s special.”

I don’t think she intended to be hurtful, she was just simply ignorant. With that in mind, I was able to let it go. Mostly.

…Tactless fool. Ok, NOW I’ve let it go.



Leave a comment
  • I'm the wrong person to tell you to remain calm in these situations. Because I would encourage you – should you ever see her again – to drop kick and then punch her in the head. Old or not. What the hell is wrong with people? Ugh.

  • I find it unbelievable in this day and age that anyone would say something like that. I guess the best we can do is feel totally sorry for this woman . . . she is missing out on a lot if her world is that closed-minded.

  • Excuse my language for a minute, but I will use these words to explain my feelings about this situation:


    OH MY GOD. How did you remain so calm? "… more far gone?" WTF? REALLY? OMG. I'm sorry but I am almost laughing at this woman being so idiotic. I can't even… wow. Just wow. And the worst thing about people like her is that they'll never really change or see why they are wrong. They are just THAT DUMB. Wow. I'm sorry you had to sit through that – so much worse than nails on a chalkboard if you ask me. MUCH worse.

  • I wouldn't be able to be that calm either. I can't believe how ignorant and rude that woman was. Kudos to you for being a calm mama, while surrounded by such stupidity. I'm angry at that woman, and I wasn't even there. Some people are so freakin' brutal.

  • Some people don't think before they speak. Or ever.

    well done on staying so calm and not round-house kicking her in the head. That would have been kinda sweet to go all Chuck Norris on her.

  • I'd like to think I would react calmly too, but even reading your post has me agitated. I truly believe as people age, that part of their brain that screens their thoughts (you know the ones we think and know we shouldn't say and don't) must erode away.

    When my son was an baby and I was on the streetcar with him in a front carrier, an old woman insisted on lecturing me, asking if he was breathing, that I was smothering him. I told her it's too bad her she ruined her own kids lives and they moved away and now she was left on her own to meddle in others. And I gave her a quarter to call someone who cares to hear her opinion. I was mad. There was no response and I knew it was mean, but I didn't feel bad at all.

    You're a better mom, woman, human being than I am. Your daughter is lucky to have you as an example.

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