Sander’s Insight

By Korissa Holloman, quotes from Cyndi Sanders

James Shelton Greene “Big Dog” and Ms. Sanders

“I’m autistic!” If you take any sort of class with people, you’ve more than likely heard this phrase. Usually used as an excuse for making a mistake, we tend to blame problems on disorders they don’t even have. By using words such as “autistic”, “retarded”, “ADHD”, or the like one negates the real challenges that some students face. Using derogatory terms with little regard to how it impacts others makes it seem that one is associating people with these disorders as bad or ‘stupid’. We label them as their disorder, instead of labeling themself as a person.

No one else can word it better than the person who works with them on a day to day basis. She gets to see the good, the bad, the ugly, but she loves it nonetheless, Ms. Sanders. Even from the beginning parents have to struggle with the living differences their child gives, “confusing terminology, doctors’ appointments, medications, therapies, and any advice they could desperately grasp onto.” This doesn’t mean they insult their child, they show them unconditional love like everyone else. But, what happens when it’s not them that insults their child? There’s always the occurrence of another child or adult insulting their child, even if they “didn’t mean it that way.” How do we describe what that feels like when in reality we don’t know what they’re going through. Half the people who use harmful terminology don’t even know what it means.

“Every time you callously proclaim yourself “retarded,” “ADHD,” “Autistic,” etc. in an attempt to gain a momentary laugh in an awkward situation, you cause anguish to hearts that must endure a lifetime being truly afflicted with these disabilities. Your laughs, your giggles, your momentary fun will fade. The pain of these special populations will continue to last for a lifetime. Words are power. They build and they destroy. They create and they incinerate. They lift and they crush. A word that wounds lasts forever and, likewise, a word of love and kindness lasts for all time. Our special populations are easy targets and are used to being persecuted by careless

Isaiah Boisseau (left), Mr. Woody (middle), and James Greene (right).

words even if you “didn’t mean it that way.” In today’s world of hate and anguish, it would be great for the heroes among us to step up and instead use words carefully with special populations in mind. A simple, “Hi friend,” or fist bump or wave in the hall goes a long way toward healing the broken hearts of the wounded special needs student. When you show this kindness, I assure you the kindness will come back to you. How I wish we could start a hero movement like this. Our world needs it so desperately and I certainly know my very special friends need it.”

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