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Dear MIL, Please don't say...

(45 Posts)

My very well intentioned, but persistently misunderstanding (and possibly still in denial) MIL has just said, I'm sure you'll find he'll catch up once he gets to school with the others...

No, I'm afraid he won't. The gap between him and his peers is likely to widen. I have an excellent Ed Psych report specifying the complex and life long difficulties which his learning disability is responsible for. This is great evidence for our SA which we believe is progressing towards a statement being issued.

I have high, but realistic expectations for my son, your grandson, but today, I'm so tired, I have just put the phone down and wept. It is not in the least helpful for you to pretend that he is just the same as the other NT children.

Thanks for letting me let that out here. I know you will understand. I shall probably be back to my more positive self soon xx

Thankgoodnessforcheerios Wed 23-Apr-14 14:25:39

flowers cake wine
My MIL rubs a candle from lourdes all over his face in the hope that it will cure him, he likes it now but I am sure one day he will whack her over the head with it grin

Thankgoodnessforcheerios Wed 23-Apr-14 14:26:19

My DS that is smile

Ha ha! That's made me smile, I'd love him to whack her with it!!

Thank you smile

PolterGoose Wed 23-Apr-14 14:38:13


I've had years of 'When he sees the other children doing <insert thing ds can't do> he'll soon copy them and do it too'

Erm, no, he won't.

Sounds very similar! She was certain a year in nursery would really "bring on his speech" but of course it hasn't as this is his biggest difficulty of all! He has DS and if he could just copy speech, he would have copied his family by now!

Thank you. It just gets frustrating doesn't it?

Her favourite line is about not worrying about him, she's sure it will all work out in the end! Because she's seen someone with DS working in M&S!!

I'm starting to feel better now...thanks x

PolterGoose Wed 23-Apr-14 15:57:09

This is one of the things where it doesn't matter what diagnosis (if any) our kids have, people just struggle with the idea of delayed/disordered development, whatever the reason.

autumnsmum Wed 23-Apr-14 15:57:59

I have this with my mil apparently every child she has met is worse than dd2 , which is of course why she's statemented and at a sp sch

Bilberry Wed 23-Apr-14 16:02:27

Oh yes, I get/got that too. "His sisters do all his speaking for him! once he is at nursery he will catch up." No, actually, at home his sisters interact with him, model for him, include him in their games. At nursery other 4 year olds don't have the patience to work out what he is saying so he sits in the corner and plays by himself. Hence, most of his progress is in the holidays....

homework Wed 23-Apr-14 16:32:32

I'm lucky then cause my ds grandparents on my husband side couldn't even be bothered to make any effort , they send gifts for Christmas and birthdays and that's about the maximum contact they have . Oh that's wrong they now do an occasional phone call , which he doesn't actually want to talk to them in.

You're right Polter, she does struggle and usually I'm not too bothered and can shrug it off, but today, I was explaining about report findings and she still says stupid things! Like autumnsmum says, we're on our way to a statement, how can he be just like the others?

Bilberry, my DS has sisters who do those things for him too and then he struggles when other children don't/can't do it....

I really try to avoid discussions of this nature with her but it's all cropping up due to SA and she asks how things are going....

Bilberry Wed 23-Apr-14 16:50:15

I'm more of a chicken than you perspective, I haven't actually discussed my ds support meetings with my parents! They don't see him much so don't 'know' him (live too far away) and I just can't face explaining what his difficulties are and exactly how they are impacting on him in the detail that would be requested and required to 'justify' our concern.

My dad says things like this that at the time make me feel frustrated and cross with him.
I do however calm down and remember that he loves me and loves dd and that he is coming from a well intentioned place.
He asks questions because he wants to understand more then comes out with things like that. It is partly because he wants to believe it himself, partly because he doesn't entirely understand all the ins and outs of dd's conditions.
As frustrating as it is I know my dad doesn't mean any harm. He is not the one at appointments and assessments and living with it every day.

Bilberry, I often don't discuss due to her not getting it but felt cornered in conversation!! I think this was what made me furiously upset, I was filling in the detail and still she thinks he'll catch up!! She does love him to bits and I try not to let it bother me, why should it really? But today I felt that she was minimising his difficulties and obstinately not seeing some of the obstacles he will have to learning. I'm not trying to be negative, but somehow she makes me feel like I am. I am realistic but also aiming high but can see how completely different his school experience will be.

My DDs went to school reading a little and trying to write, he doesn't speak...of course he's going to encounter difficulties and funnily enough she is the only one who can't (won't) see this. I also feel like it minimises how much looking after and caring is required by me. His DLA proves he requires a lot more care than his peers, but again, she likes to ignore this aspect.

I should remember this isn't about me and my son, it's her problem and just smile and nod...

hazeyjane Wed 23-Apr-14 17:46:17

Oh Perspective brew and cake for you and maybe wine for later.

I was thinking about just this today, because of a comment that a friend made about ds, along the lines of 'see, I said he would talk in his own time' - because he said 'mama'....4 times...a month ago.

I know that most of these sort comments are meant well, but it is hard to hear them, especially when you are fighting for support, or spending endless hours at hospital because ds is struggling to walk and no one can work out why.

It is also hard because we spend so much time filling out forms and reading reports that paint the negative side that is necessary in order to gain support and paint as full a picture as possible, that I find it difficult to be positive without a proviso...'he is making progress, but only because of all the support/but it is very slow/spiky...'

Our family is a mixed bag ranging from some who won't ever talk about ds's problems - seeming to view it with embarrassment to my mum who worked with children and adults with learning disabilities.

Thanks hazey I do think today was a case of particularly bad timing. She is always like this, she's well intentioned but never thinks through what she's saying. She once asked me what I was doing all day whilst DS was in NICU!! Er, expressing, cuddling him, learning about DS, running the lives of my other two children.....I'm sure then that she wouldn't have meant that to seem rude, but it came out sounding rude to me!! So she has form.
I shouldn't take her on really, but today felt like she was completely dismissing his disability and whilst I would love to, unfortunately we cannot afford to do that can we? Any of us? I think that's why I was was a touch of jealousy of her position...I'm never not going to have to take it into account.

Thanks everyone, I knew you lovely folks would understand thanks

elliejjtiny Thu 24-Apr-14 16:23:26

My DH's step nan is like this with DS4. My MIL is just about beginning to understand. I get a lot of "well, he's better than DS2 was at this age". They have different SN so yes, in some ways DS4 is ahead of DS2 at that age but in most ways he's behind. I feel like a broken record explaining that DS4's condition is severe and will involve at least one operation on his brain, probably several. I have to make her understand because if I have to agree with her one more time about DS4 not having a disability I will go mad.

It's frustrating isn't it Ellie? I'd love to say one day, when feeling beautifully calm:

Do you know, we don't like to think of it in terms of catching up, we would love him to reach his potential, whilst recognising his disabity.

It sounds easy written down, I wonder if I could do it?!

I shouldn't let it bother me really, but it's like ignoring a whole chunk of our lives really...

elliejjtiny Thu 24-Apr-14 17:31:07

My mum always says I should ignore the stupid comments. But when it's more people making stupid comments than not it makes me want to jump up and down and shout that I'm the one who's right. And why should we ignore it? If someone got burgled we wouldn't tell them to ignore it. Oh well, at least I know I won't be like that when I'm old, even though all the terminology will have changed by then and "additional needs" will have become the biggest insult ever grin.

Glittery7 Thu 24-Apr-14 22:45:41

I think it's natural to want to be hopeful, especially when it's a much loved child/grandchild.
If your son is still very young there is still reason to be hopeful and he may well grow out of many of his difficulties.

My daughter has ASD but has come on in leaps and bounds since the age of 2. She's 5 now.

autumnsmum Fri 25-Apr-14 06:32:58

Glittery in my case and I think with the op
It's a blanket denial of the issues that is the problem

Glittery, although we aim high and support and encourage AMAP, he's not going to grow out of Downs Syndrome; he has a disability that will have an impact which is lifelong.

Yes, that's it autumnsmum x

autumnsmum Fri 25-Apr-14 08:40:20

Also sadly all children with disabilities are different my dd2 won't grow out of her autism and cognitive impairment

Glittery, I'm sorry but your post is quite rude; I am hopeful (always) as are other relatives who recognise and accept and still love him more than you could imagine.
She is in denial.

hazeyjane Fri 25-Apr-14 10:57:23

Glittery , there is hope and there is refusing to see someone as they are. We all want the best for our children. We all hope they will make progress and live full healthy lives, but belittling their problems and areas where they struggle isn't about helping them, it about making you feel better.

Yes, Hazey!! That's just it, beautifully articulated, thank you x

Runesigil Mon 28-Apr-14 02:56:30

Hi Glittery, optimism is one thing, dealing with someone in denial is extremely hard work. My SIL 'hopefully' suggested my dd would grow out of her condition. Part of it involves neurological damage as evidenced on a CT scan, how is dd supposed to grow out of that? She is disabled and that impacts her daily living in so many ways and will do every day of her life. SIL refuses to see that, talking to SIL is like talking to someone who has their fingers in their ears and shouts lalala loudly because they don't want to hear what you're saying.

My Dad was very strange when I told him ds had ASD. His response was 'Good for him!' hmm

He then went into a raving rant about uniformity stifling human progression, and about eye contact not being normal these days anyway as everyone talks either via a screen or whilst looking at one.

I really miss him.

I'm probably talking nonsense here (DS not even been assessed yet) but is it possible there's a part of these people who are saying these things because they really don't know the 'right' thing to say? I already know that if DS gets a dx there's some family members who'll say "ah he's fine just give him time" and others who will tell me he's 'just' badly behaved. I'm hoping to come up with some gems IF we even decide to tell people but I'm wondering if perhaps these relatives would benefit from a frank discussion of how things really are, maybe backed up with some evidence and examples of what's so different for us as parents/our DC in day-to-day life, what their possible/likely future might look like and what the relatives can say/do that would help?? like I say I'm at the very beginning of the journey but I'm not sure I'd know what to say to me if I wasn't in my position grin

autumnsmum Mon 28-Apr-14 19:44:56

I think what's difficult with my mil is whenever I mention dd2s issues which are pretty clear in that she attends a sp sch she automatically declares another child is worse . I know deep down for her dd2 isn't the granddaughter she wAnted but her attitude isn't helpful

BallyGoBackwards Tue 29-Apr-14 11:00:48

Starlight......Your dads comment "Good for him" is hilarious. I am so sorry but the tears are running down my face. smile

Only last week my sister told me that I make out that my DS is worse than he actually is.......................She doesnt have children and loves my two more than anything so I think it is coming from a (kind of) good place hmm

Glittery7 Tue 29-Apr-14 11:13:57

Perspective, I'm sorry if you thought my post was rude. I also have a parent who is to an extent in denial when it comes to acknowledging my dd really does have autism.
I let it go as I know my mother is coping in her own way and the denial helps her deal with the grief.
I'd rather have my dd and granny have a happy, loving relationship than get angry with her for "facing up to it"
Just my thoughts.
For what it's worth I didn't realise your son had DS. I apologise for that.

duckyneedsaclean Tue 29-Apr-14 16:49:37

My MIL is convinced I just need to vigorously wobble DS's limbs. This will sort him right out apparently... Oh, and 'DH was just like him'.

No. No he wasn't was he. He could walk and talk.


quirkychick Tue 29-Apr-14 17:07:02

Hi perspective21. My mil says lots of inappropriate things about dd2. She also has ds. Mil told dp that it will be very difficult to potty train her. She is 4, I would never have guessed... she has only just put up a photo of her, I think she was ashamed to have a child with ds in the family.

How old is your ds? We are (tomorrow) having our statement review for transition to school in Sept. Best of luck with your SA.

Thank you Glittery, I haven't ever said anything, it's all unspoken, in my head.

ducky, yes a bit of limb wobbling should work wonders!!!!

quirky thanks, this waiting stage is a bit nerve wracking...good luck to you too x

elliejjtiny Tue 29-Apr-14 19:29:52

Limb wobbling? The mind boggles! MIL likes to give examples of children who she thinks have "worse" disabilities than mine but who live in very tidy houses. "Just look at Steve and Lorraine, their DD has a terrible disease, she might die at any moment. Their house is immaculate though and they never complain". Argh. I thought it would be easier with DS4 as he has a diagnosis rather than a vague "hypotonia, development delay" that DS2 has. But people seem to focus on the thing that was most obvious (his cleft lip) and ignore the rest.

autumnsmum Tue 29-Apr-14 20:04:35

Ellie dp is always being td by his mum that we live in a tip

ellie that is so crap about the tidy house comments!!

Just one misunderstanding after another....

Good job we don't all take (too much) offence wink

hazeyjane Tue 29-Apr-14 20:36:18

Aah, there is nothing a good limb wobble can't sort out.

We get the ...'could be so much worse' stories too, along with tales of ...'and he started walking/talking at 5 and is now a renowned hill walker/ after dinner speaker etc etc'

Not having a confirmed diagnosis lends itself to a whole other area of bizarre comments and theories.

duckyneedsaclean Tue 29-Apr-14 22:21:19

hazey yes to the bizarre theories! MIL would like to actually use some sort of electric wobbling device but I don't let her. So she settles for manual wobbling instead. smile

Also the reason behind his GDD and hypotonia and speech delay is.... he had antibiotics for pneumonia. Of course!

autumnsmum Wed 30-Apr-14 05:52:59

Ah ducky electronic wobbling like hazey my mind is wobbling ! At one point dp was telling the portage worker mil latest theory that squash was causing dd2s behaviour , learning and interaction difficulties and she turned round and she does realise dd is autistic I could hVe hugged her

elliejjtiny Wed 30-Apr-14 11:09:23

I loved DS2's portage worker. She still sends cards to all 4 boys on their birthdays and DS2 finished portage 4 years ago.

DH's Grandad likes to tell me about "research" he's done and when DS2 was failure to thrive and fed by tube he said "well, short people can have normal lives too, you know".

My elderly neighbours just sniff when we see them with DS2 in his wheelchair and say "there was none of that in our day" when I remind them about all the people my age and older who have SN they just say "they're not disabled, they're not right in the head and need locking up". Nice.

MIL calls my DN her "normal grandchild". DN has colic and screams whenever she's awake. If that's what a normal baby does I think I prefer my DS4 who is always smiling and has never woken more than once at night.

ellie that is awful shock xx

The limb wobbling reminds me of the terrible nurse in Secret Garden who wants to keep the boy an invalid (as they say)

duckyneedsaclean Wed 30-Apr-14 13:31:54

perspective she's no terrible nurse, she means well! Her youngest (my BIL) has ds and she devotes all her time to him. She's just eternally optimistic. Which is where the mad theories come in!

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