The feeling when your daughter is graduating from high school is just not explainable for me. She has come along way, but she still have a long way to go. I will be with her until the end of time. Society can be rude and dis-respectable. It is like there is not any rules for someone like her. While she is gliding and styling mommy is protecting. Society has no clue of what to say, how not to be so rude in spoken words and unspoken words. I have a guide book everyone should own which is called Emily Post’s Etiquette the 18th edition. This book is amazing. Why you may ask, because the manners it teaches for everyday life is just flawless. This book deserves a five star. Since this blog post is about my daughter with disabilities and high school graduation. I will reflect on the section which talks about Courtesies For People With Disablities (Post, Post, Post, & Senning, 2011). I think this is important for everyone to remember everyone I mean everyone have the same human traits. Just like you have feelings they have feelings as well. They sometimes show them in a different ways. According to Post et. al. (2011, p. 29) bullet points, society can provide courtesy in many ways to people with disabilities, but here are some: “Never stare, make jokes, or cruel comments, respect their independence, ask first before offering assistance, never ask personal questions, speak directly with the person, never take seats designated for disable people, never park in a space with a handicapped sign unless you have a permit to do so and have that person in the car, and lastly some disable people may have trouble providing eye contact, however they may be listening at every word you are saying.
The authors were on point when they stated people with mental disabilities have problems with basic social and communication skills which are listening, comprehending, giving appropriate responses verbally and non-verbally, and reading social cues correctly (Post et. al. 2011, p. 32). My daughter was diagnosed around age 3 of having autism. She has always been an outgoing girl until she started high school. Middle School was awesome she was welcome and she felt she was a part of her peers outside of her classroom. She was able to mainstream there, as well as participate in regular tryouts and activities. She was even on the cheer-leading squad. She was a blossom. High School was a disaster for her. She felt like she was not accepted and was not part of the high school experience. She was put in a self-contain class and was not given a chance to mainstream the way she did in middle school. As a result of this she regressed. She lost a lot of what she had learned. She started to act out at school and went into a depression mood. I say all this to say everyone has to be on the same page. People with disabilities have to learn how to blend into society so they should be given a chance to blend in with their peers at school. They learn from their peers. They should be observed by a par-professional to ensure their safety. I know for my daughter she learned how to interact and gain friends when she was able to blend. She lost it when she was not able to communicate with the students on the outside of her class and do things with them. However, I think parents should have this option for their children. Teens with disabilities should not be put behind a close door and not be able to interact with peers on the outside. They should be able to be protected and have that option. You know the saying for each is her/his own. Well that is one of my favorite sayings.
Manners can go a long way. When interacting with a person with a mental disability there are some pointers to remember:
- “Give them time to express him/herself
- developmental disability is when a person act younger than they are; In this case interact with him/her at his/her developmental age and not their chronological age
- Be understanding of the person’s feelings or what they are socially trying to accomplish
- Include the person in a group conversation” (Post et. al, 2011, p. 32).
My daughter was asked the question what she wanted to be when she graduated from high school? She stated she wanted to be a special education teacher. I found that to be interesting. When looking at the options for her that is not one. I know she could not be a teacher, however, she could assist the students with other things. She could teach the teachers what her peers are thinking, what their likes are, and how to go about helping the students with their interest.
There is not much time to plan. There is a lot to do before graduation such as, order pictures, order graduation items, plan for after the graduation, and then on to life after high school. My daughter is so adorable she could actually be a commercial model. Just food for thought. As a mother and daughter relationship I always think it is important to include them in the plannings. Graduation is huge deal and that what is happening although she sometimes drift away and don’t want to choose things.
I would love to hear your thoughts.
Post, P., Post, A., Post, L. & Senning, P.D. (2011). Emily Post’s Etiquette (18th ed.) Manners For A New World. New York: HarperCollins.