When I was five years old, I sat next to a child who was different than me. Not worse, not better, just different. At a young age, I learned the importance of this difference, and my life has never been the same since.
His vocabulary was huge, and the ideas coming out of his head were sometimes stunning. But the problem back then was the speed of his words. He spoke slowly and carefully, a by-product of years of speech therapy.
It is so hard to acknowledge that your child may need help. It's easy to worry that you have done something wrong as a parent. But I know now that the benefits of seeking support far outweigh the stress of wondering if there might be something wrong and trying to manage everything on your own.
At the crux of it, "honest speech" seems to hinge on the idea of speaking for ourselves. Not changing the way that we speak in order to fit a mold that someone else has created for us. We all have a voice that is ours, and ours alone. It is how we use it that counts.
Before the outburst, I'd told myself I'd stay cool. We were doing what was best for C and that is what mattered. This whole thing was not a value judgment on him or on our parenting. And yet, suddenly, I was the parent who did not want to hear it.
The loneliness of that realization, that my daughter might have to shoulder the consequences of these stigmas, made me heartsick. I'd made myself believe she would only be challenged by her race and gender, not the basic ability to speak her mind.
When children are very young, they have a hard time seeing a different point of view than their own. Most young children seem like that for the first years of their lives. It takes a long time for them to realize their view of the world is different than others.'
Providing therapy in the home can be a rewarding and valuable experience, building wonderful relationships between families and therapists that can last for years. Just remember to establish rules from the start and get everyone involved.
Despite being a nation built on welcoming those from afar, bias taints our interactions and the media perpetuates ideas of infamy, villainy or pathetic comedy at the expense of those who look or sound differently than "we" do.