Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's Wrong With Her?

I have come to realize, now that I live with a special needs child, that there are a lot of things out there to be offended by.  There are so many ways to put someone down or make someone feel bad about themselves or stereotype or categorize or lump or kick or berate...I think you get my point.  And there are an equal number of ways to fight these injustices, and millions of people out there with their own causes to champion, and this is the beautiful thing about being a human being, and about being one of us who are lucky enough to live in a society that allows us individual expression.  And sometimes I agree with the injury (ie: the modern slang use of the word "retarded"), and sometimes I think the "victim" is over-reacting, but the important thing is that people are trying to right the wrongs they see in their world.

And so, I would like to test the view from atop "a temporary platform used while making an impromptu or nonofficial public speech." (Thank you, thefreedictionary.com, for that definition of soapbox)  I would like to take a small stab at changing my world.  The one thing that people say to me quite often that really gets my goat is: "What's wrong with her?"  Simple enough, right?  And some of you are even saying, "Well that doesn't bother me, I appreciate them taking an interest instead of whispering behind their hands."  I TOTALLY agree with you.  I have NO PROBLEM with people asking about Anabelle's condition, and welcome the opportunity to spread awareness.  I do not consider them insensitive dolts if they ask this.  What I take issue with is that this is the accepted way for inquiring about how my child differs from theirs.  Put very simply: what's WRONG with her?  Absolutely nothing.

It is time to stop viewing different as wrong.  And time to stop accepting that if it is a rare difference, it is okay to publicly declare it as "wrong".  Can you imagine if we went about in every day life calling out differences like that?

You are wearing these:

"What's wrong with your eyes?"

This is the top of your head:

"What's wrong with your hair?"

You write like this:
"What's wrong with your hand?"

It is time to change the lexicon, people!  I am calling for your help, all 35 followers of this blog and whichever of my 200 some-odd friends I can muster when I post this on Facebook: let us begin to spread a new way of engaging in a conversation about the differences you see in another person.  I propose this:


I am, however, totally open to suggestions.  Let's brainstorm this one, come to a consensus, and spread the word!  I don't want people saying in front of my child (or her typical sister): "What's wrong with her?"  This is not the message we should be imparting.  My child isn't broken.  She doesn't have something that needs to be corrected.  She was made the way she is, and it is perfectly suited to her being.  Don't ask me what is wrong with her, ask me how her differences make her world such a special place to be.

"Ain't Nothin' Wrong with Me, Baby!"


  1. Great post Kate! You are right - - Every child is special.

  2. I love when people share your posts from my FB wall. You reach a wider audience than you think you do with posts like this.

  3. Your girls are perfect just as they are. I agree, we need to celebrate our children rather than pigeonholde them into categories. Just look at the joy they bring into our lives...

  4. Kate, I LOVE your post!!! I am going to school to become a teacher and I have learned about many exceptionalites children have. The disability does NOT define who they are!! Anabelle is special, expceptional, and beautiful because she (with the help of her wonderful mama!) is spreading the word and educating people!

    Kisses & Hugs,
    Cousin Jenn