Wednesday, December 8, 2010

National Special Needs Parents Day: Yeah, Nah, or Meh?

Congress is considering a resolution that would establish a national day of recognition honoring parents of special needs children, and I was surprised to see some of our fellow SN parents get up in arms about this. 

Now I've been known to work myself up into a lather over the internet-outrage-du-jour when I don't even have a dog in the hunt -- I'm still chapped about TSA pat-downs and those fee-laden Kardashian Kards -- so I was all ready to get in on the action.

But I gotta say...I don't see it with this one.  Righteous indignation is practically my status quo, but sometimes you have to heed the Hulka and "Lighten up, Francis".  Stripes, y'all!   In this case, I choose to believe the best in people (WHAT!) and take things in the spirit in which I think they were intended.

Here are some of the anti-resolution arguments that I've read:

We don't need no stinkin' pity
Here is exactly what HR Bill 1576 says: and supportive parents serve a critical role in the development of special needs children and in preparing them to succeed in school and in life, and...deserve annual national recognition for their selfless dedication, compassion, and sacrifice...
Funnily enough, my first reaction to this is not so much "Stop pitying us!" as it is "FUCK YEAH!!"

The bill is sponsored by Representative Dan Burton of Indiana, who has a grandson with autism.  I'm guessing that pity is not exactly what he is going for, and that he is motivated by nothing more than his daughter and the challenges that she has faced as a special needs parent.

Send money instead
Count me in on hand-outs of free money to special needs parents, but I'm pretty sure that that was not on the table as an alternative.  I don't think that any of us in the special needs community would argue that there is much that could be done to make our lives easier.  They could start with getting our insurance companies to pay for our kids' therapies and go from there. 

But having a national day of recognition for us doesn't cost the government anything, and doesn't preclude us from continuing to fight for everything else that we want.  I really doubt that someone was in a smoke-filled backroom going "I know they want ABA coverage, but we'll throw a Hallmark holiday at 'em and that oughta shut 'em up."

Doesn't Congress have anything better to do?
You clearly have not been paying attention.  They are doing absolutely nothing.  So they might as well get busy kissing my ass.

For the record, here are some other recent congressional resolutions:
  • Commemoration of 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Congratulating the championship UCLA men's tennis team
  • Acknowledging the on-premise sign industry for its contributions to the success of small businesses
Aren't special needs parents at least as important as the guy who painted the sign for your local BJ McSkankly's strip club?

We already have Mother's Day.  We want to be treated like any other mother and not singled out.
I'll bet that the special needs moms who oppose the resolution for this reason get showered with gifts and slathered with praise and adulation on Mother's Day.  I, however, usually get stiffed, so if the government wants to throw me a bone it'll be one more than I usually get.

Imagine the person who proposed this hearing about a backlash in the special needs community:
"Sheesh, we were just trying to do something nice.  God, these people are a-holes."
"Who are you calling a-holes?  We're parents of children with special needs!  Show us some friggin' respect!"
"I thought you wanted to be treated like everyone else and not singled out."
* *
"Oh yeah, and I heard that Oprah's doing a special "Favorite Things" episode with nothing but the parents of special needs kids in the audience.  I guess you don't want in on that."
Aaaaand scene.
In summary:  I'm not going to exactly organize a march on Washington in favor of it, but I'm not going to get bent out of shape about it either.  Now I gotta go write a social story for my autistic daughter before I drive her to another therapy appointment....


  1. I'm for it- do we get a discount at restaurants on the special day? margaritas all around!! :D

    And if restaurants do offer that, how do we prove that we belong in the club? dark circles under the eyes, hair thrown up in a ponytail, a nervous twitch?

  2. I get jack for Mother's Day, too, so another chance at a frickin box of chocolates, or whatever lucky moms get, is fine with me.

  3. I'm neutral on it.

    I'm with you on the hand-out though. Pass a bill to make my insurance company not exclude Autism! That'll help!

  4. Interesting. Hadn't heard about that one yet.

    I don't see much to get worked up about here, on one side or the other. And you are SO on point about Congress. Arggh. (Maybe, among many other things, they could get to work on renewing the Combating Autism Act, which sunsets in 2011...)

  5. Hard to keep everyone happy all of the time, eh? Will be interested to see how it works out:) Jen

  6. I'm pretty sure this won't change my life in any way, so I'm on the meh side. Not worth getting excited about this one.

  7. You know, it's nice they want to recognize us...I really don't see what there is to get upset about. I also agree with's not going to change all our's just a day. Interesting. I laughed out loud when you said "they're not doing anything anyways." So true, so true.

  8. I hadn't heard of this but am not surprised at all by the response. Sheesh!!

    Those same people that are getting all riled up about this one are not likely to give up their fast pass at Disneyland or quite frankly any other accommodation they've been granted for the disability status.

    By the Way, Do you know how to get tickets to that Oprah show?

  9. All of this, every single part makes total sense. And you should TOTALLY get in on the Oprah thing. TOTALLY!

  10. I'm all for it, especially if we get some much needed media attention for disabilities. And by the way, Oprah, are you reading this? Special needs parents need a giveaway show! And daycare for all the kids while the parents attend the show!

  11. Hells YES!!! I want a freakin day!!! Do you know what I just went through on a simple trip to Best Buy! I deserve about 2 1/2 days!!!

    "I know they want ABA coverage, but we'll throw a Hallmark holiday at 'em and that oughta shut 'em up." Brilliant Lynn, brilliant.

    And the Stripes mention. This will make no sense, so I'm gonna write it anyway, cuz that's how I roll. At the last school I taught at there was a CREEPY, CREEPY assistant principal. I mean, when he came in my room I would back into the hall so I could have witnesses at all time. He even used to talk to himself and my husband dubbed his imaginary friend Mr. Pumpernickel, funny, but really more scary than funny. Anyway, there is a point! He used to quote Stripes all the time and basically forced me to watch it, like a rape victim. I watched with tears in my eyes and the bed spread awkwardly covering my body out of shame. Not really, but you get the point.

    SOOOOOO, if at all possible, let's refrain from the Stripes shout outs, because it takes me down that long, scary memory lane...

  12. I could care less either way, a day of recognition isn't going to make my days and easier or harder.... the whole insurance coverage thing is a completely different story though.

  13. Lynn, funny as ever! I have a hard time understanding the outrage also. It's just silly. I do put myself in the "meh" category though. I do think Congress wastes too much time coming up with national days. They're not even Hallmark holidays. Congress has come up with extremely goofy days that no one has ever heard of or cared about. The truth of the matter is that the whole thing is pretty meaningless.

  14. I am so against this I am seeing red. Do I really need another day where I have to get my lazy ass out of bed, go to CVS and get my wife a card and a $3.99 box of chocolate. Isn't Valentines Day, Mother's Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Sorry About That Day, and Arbor Day enough? Congress is trying to bankrupt me in favor of Big Hallmark. I am not going to stand for it.

  15. I have no problem getting some recognition (not that anyone would pay attention to it anyways, least of all my children), but its the thought that counts, right?

  16. I get jack shit for Mother's Day. In fact, I usually end up fucking working.

    I don't really need to be snubbed twice a year.

    I guess I'm Meh too.

  17. Very informative. I hadn't heard anything about this. I'm with you 100%.

  18. @Heather: I got 2 out of 3 of those prereq' hair left to pull into a ponytail.

    @AutismMom: I'm so putting my hand out for that Disney FastPass come March.

    @BigDaddy: Technically it's special needs PARENTS day. So your wife would be on the hook to go to....wherever it is she goes to get you...whatever it is you're into.

  19. If there is to be a special day to celebrate my awesomeness.........then I approve.

  20. Hello there. This may be a bit off topic however it affects many families. We have a four year old with autism we are trying to potty train and a soon to be 3 year old with ADHD who isn’t trained yet. They both disrobe and play in their diapers. We actually invented some clothing that helps the situation. It is an escape proof pajama called The Wonder Jumper and it is a romper sleeper that zips in the back. Our company is called iKids Fashion thanks a lot!

  21. The above may be a bit off topic.

  22. I am with you 100%. If they want to give me a day, let's have it! If congress isn't going to give me $$$$ then they can at least give me a day. Do i get a day off of being a mom of a special needs kid?

  23. LOL @ Heather (first comment)! As I sit at my computer with dark circles and bags under my eyes with a dirty pony tail contemplating taking a shower at midnight since it's the only time I can take a shower! I would say that would be a great way to qualify us!

  24. In that case, how about a "Moms Who Moved To PA" day?

    -Yes, we could use the money to move out.
    -Recognition of what a waste of time it is to move to this place.
    -Recognition of the stress and BS we have to put up with from the native residents that don't like outsiders.

    I think it has merit.

    Honestly, doesn't National Autism Day sort of take care of all this?

  25. @thatCATlady: Thanks for stopping by...hope you got that shower!

  26. I enjoyed your humor "Lighten up Francis" LOL
    I encourage any and all attention to the challenges that many of us face. Autism is a spectrum disorder and it's challenges are not the same for each parent. While some parents have support others are overwhelmed and hopeless. When you consider that 1 in 91 children are being diagnosed yet most people don't have a clue what Autism is; more attention is needed. IMHO :)

  27. @Anonymous: I agree...I'll take what I can get! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  28. Hmmmm. I'm pretty sure congress has better things to do. I wouldn't be pleased if they carried on with the 'recognition' day, and then cut funds for my Katie Beckett.