“Finally A Place Where You Never Have to Say I’m Sorry”
By: Armando Yzaguirre
A Typical Saturday
It was a Saturday and we went to a trampoline park. It was around 11 am when we finished up and were ready to leave. By now, my kids have usually had a mid-morning snack. So, they were a little hungry. Because we were out with family we decided to go sit down and eat somewhere. You would have thought we never feed Joseph. He was so hungry and he was having a fit. As we order and wait … and wait… and wait… for the food to come out, he is getting more and more unbearable. Fifteen minutes felt like an hour. Now that I think about it, it probably felt like an hour for him as well! I apologized to the waitress for several of his screams. I apologized to family sitting across from us for him throwing a french fry at them when he finally did get his food. Then, I apologized to the waitress again because my son swiped, faster than a ninja, and stole all of her straws from her apron when she was bringing us the check.
Sorry, Not Sorry?
Do you ever find yourself apologizing a lot? As a parent of three kids that are four-years-old and under, I find myself apologizing to someone pretty much every time I leave the house. My oldest also happens to be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Many of my apologies come after on of his tantrums. Recently, I started to question why I apologize so much for his behavior. All three of my kids have meltdowns, because well they’re kids. Yet, as parents it is important to question the reasons for our apologies to others.
Are you apologizing, because you are embarrassed by your kids actions? Most parents would never admit to that, but let’s be real… you can feel like a failure when your kid loses it in the middle of aisle 9 at Publix. While, all kids have meltdowns, kids with special needs can have tantrums that are unique. There is a certain helplessness that can be felt by both the child and the parent when this occurs.
Sometimes as parents we are genuinely sorry we are causing inconvenience to others, but when we feel that awkwardness described above we are believing something about our kids that is not only wrong but unhelpful. We are communicating to ourselves, our kids, and others that our kids have worth only when they are well behaved. As a parent with a son on the spectrum and a “typical” three-year-old daughter, I know that kids of all needs can give parents a difficult time. But our children’s worth are not found in how well behaved they are at the grocery store or when we are going out to eat. All children have inherent worth. So we need to make sure to not teach others that our children are nuisances. Apologizing for an inconvenience is one thing, but don’t feel sorry for yourself or your kid for being what they are… a kid. Especially if your child has a special need.
Some ways to work on this is by reminding yourself of the value of your children. They are a gift and we should celebrate them! When they are having a rough time, try to focus on what is best for them and not trying to make everyone around you feel comfortable. Lastly, be patient with your kids. All children can have a rough time. Kids with special needs can struggle in unique ways, but that is all the more reason we need to be patient with them in their development.
We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gyms was founded to provide a place for children of all ability levels to play and grow together. As the only kids gym that offers an inclusive philosophy we have found all children can benefit from our uniquely designed sensory equipment that is specifically designed to aid children with sensory processing disorders. However, in our experience, all children are able to benefit greatly from this equipment and by allowing children of all ability levels to play together they are able to learn a great deal from each other and become the best motivation for success on every level. At We Rock the Spectrum Gym you never have to say you’re sorry.