To Those Willing To Hear

(Disclaimer:  Before anyone gets offended or angry about this post, please be aware that this “letter” is not to any particular person or even group of people.  This letter is a compilation of thoughts and ideas from literally years of experiences with Chloe.  Now, don’t hear me saying for you not to think about and consider these ideas.  If this post brings to mind any dealings that you have had with a person with disabilities, then let it convict you and even change the way you handle yourself.  But don’t see me pointing angry, bitter fingers at anyone because the truth is:  I am not.)

A Few Thoughts For Those Willing to Hear:

This child is a gift.  This child is precious.  This child is a treasure.  This child is loved, and this child is lovely.  This child is actually very compliant.  But this child is tricky.

Please try to see past behaviors that you think you understand.  Please don’t assume the child is being bad.  Please don’t for a second picture the child as cruel or even unruly.

Please don’t think this child hits or slaps or kicks out of anger or spite.  First, please know that her body stiffens in a way that she can’t control.  Sometimes a “kick” is simply a muscle behaving on its own accord.  This child reacts to many things by shielding her face with her arms.  If any part of your body is somewhere between her face and where her arm is, then the arm may hit you in the process.  But be assured, she did not “hit” you.  This child kicks her feet or jumps when she’s frustrated or excited.  If you are in front of her feet when she kicks, then you may get kicked.  But be assured, she did not “kick” you.  This child doesn’t hit out of anger.  Please try to remember that all behavior is just this child’s way of trying to tell you something that she can’t tell you in words.

If you have the child’s heart, she will do anything you ask.  If she isn’t doing what you ask, then you first need to work on connecting with her.  If you have the child’s heart, she will do what you ask of her.

The  calmer you remain, the more she will strive to please you.  If you remain matter-of-fact, she will respond.

This child doesn’t understand emotion.  If you get frustrated or raise your voice, she will nearly always shut down.  She may even giggle as you express your frustration.  Please don’t misinterpret her laughter as disrespect.  She is simply responding to your raised emotion in the only way she knows how.

Getting frustrated does no good.  Usually frustration and anger backfire.  If you can’t maintain a calm, unruffled authority, then you may as well hand the child the keys.

Find a way to make your request mean something to the child.  Most things you ask of her have no intrinsic motivation or meaning to her.  It is easy to find a connection and an importance with her.  Stop and be a little creative before you make your request.

This child is speaking to you.  She may not be using words, but she is speaking to you.  It takes time to learn her “language.”  But if you take the time to connect with her, you will not be sorry you did.  And sharing thoughts and moments with this child is a very special thing.  Also know that she will pretty quickly stop speaking to you if you aren’t listening.  She doesn’t have any desire to speak if she isn’t listened to.

Don’t assume this child is not listening to you.  Most of the time she is listening and absorbing.  Most of the time she understands completely.  If you know her “language” you will notice that she is participating in lots of conversations.  She is even contributing.  But you may be missing it.

Please don’t use a loud voice with this child.  She hears perfectly well.  And your loud voice does nothing but upset and confuse her.  She really prefers a soft, even voice.  When you speak with a soft, calm voice she will listen and learn.

Feel free to tell this child to look at you.  She doesn’t completely understand the whole “conversation thing.”  Nor does she always feel comfortable relating to people.  A simple reminder for her to look at your eyes will help her connect.  You will see that she is, indeed, listening.

Please understand that this child is able to control very little of her environment and of her life.  She, of course, longs for that control.  And she will attempt to take control of any aspect that she can.  Again, please be creative to find ways that she can have a little control; for taking control is a natural part of growing up.  Most children her age have the privilege of controlling a few aspects of their lives.

This child tires easily.  Many tasks that seem simple to you are physically very difficult for this child.  Simply sitting in a chair for an extended time period is hard work for this child.  Walking down the hall or down the sidewalk to a different room is taxing for her.  There are times when she needs to lie down and rest even when you think she shouldn’t be tired.  Please don’t assume she’s making a bad choice when she lies down or leans against you.  She may simply be resting her body so she can sit up again.

This child doesn’t enjoy everything that other girls her age enjoy.  She often doesn’t want to run and play; although, on occasion she is ready to run like the wind and frolic like the other children.  During times of leisure, please allow her to enjoy the things she enjoys without making her do things simply because the other children enjoy it.

Please understand that this child has been pushed her entire life to succeed and pushed her entire life to reach goals more than you can ever understand.  Please know that she is a hard worker with a determined personality.  Please understand that it is her determined mindset that has gotten her where she is today.  Without that bit of stubbornness, perhaps this child would only be what the doctors thought she would be.  Without that determination, perhaps this child would only have achieved what her doctors thought she would achieve.  Without that persistence, perhaps this child would not be actively participating in society.

But this child is unique.  And this child is special.  And this child is tricky.

THANK YOU for supporting her in her efforts.  THANK YOU for supporting her as she strives to succeed.  THANK YOU for accepting her and encouraging her.  THANK YOU for loving her and being her friend.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Great post- great little girl!


  2. Posted by Renee on May 3, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Beautifully said! She is an inspiration to those around her. I wish I had her determination some days!!! I wish we could spend more time with her!


  3. You always make me cry! Absolutely perfect…just like Chloe!


  4. […] To Those Willing To Hear ( […]


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