"It's okay to be different!" "Different isn't bad!" These are the type of things we tell our SEN (Special Ed...

"It's okay to be different!"

"Different isn't bad!"

These are the type of things we tell our SEN (Special Education Needs) children, wanting them to feel comfortable in their environment, and wanting them to try and find some confidence in the person they are.

"Different is good."

But what if we are just setting them up for a fall?

What if, by telling them these things, we are actually making their time in a 'mainstream' environment even harder to deal with?

I am an advocate for my son, and that will never change.

I am his cheering squad, always ready to be there for him and to help him broach whatever life throws at him.  Encouraging him to achieve in life and to become as independent as possible, even if that sometimes feels like an impossible dream.

It took a lot of courage to have the conversation with Boo about his rare genetic disorder and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), but I was incredibly careful to make sure he knew that there is nothing wrong with being different.
His uniqueness is what makes him special.

I like to think he took some comfort from my words although, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how much he understood of the information I was giving him.

He knows his DNA is different to everyone else's and that is why he looks at the world in a different way.
He is accepting of this fact, even though he often finds the world to be an overwhelming place.

I reassured him that 'different is good'.
But now I'm not so sure I should have told him that.

Perhaps I should have prepared him for how cruel the world can be instead.
Warned him that other children his age can be hurtful and say heartbreaking things.
Prepared him for the fact that not everybody will agree with my analysis of different being good.

Perhaps if I had held that conversation with him instead, he wouldn't have gone into school feeling confident that he could tell people about his 'uniqueness' without them throwing hateful remarks at him in return.

"Dirty Blood" *

These are the kind of taunts that get thrown his way on a daily basis.

This is the reason why my gorgeous boy doesn't want to go to school anymore.

He gets sworn at and teased.

He doesn't have any friends.

People don't 'get him' (his words, not mine).

He is almost 13 years old and he has NEVER been invited to a birthday party (excluding parties of family members), or to a friends house.
In 13 years!

In 4 weeks time my beautiful boy is going to turn 13.
He should be celebrating with friends, but there are none to celebrate with.

Imagine the heartbreak of hearing your child say "There's no point in having a party Mum ..... no one would come."

It's not something I have to imagine.
Those were the words of my kind, caring, loving boy when I asked him how he would like to celebrate becoming a teenager.

Boo wouldn't be Boo if he didn't have his differences, and I wouldn't want him to be any other way.

I love the bones of him, no matter how stressful and difficult things may be sometimes.

But, because my son doesn't talk/act like other children his age, or enjoy the same activities, he is teased and made to feel that his differences are something to be ashamed of.

Part of me feels like this is my fault.

I didn't prepare him.

I didn't tell him how cruel people can be.

I led him to believe that people would be understanding of his differences.

I told him "different is good".

Missy x

*In reference to his DNA being different.

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