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Do you ever feel judged by other people, esp. the school playground?

42 replies

Blossomhill · 09/06/2006 16:05

I do.

I don't know if I am paranoid but when I go into the playground I feel like everyone looks at me (apart from my friends). As is they are talking about dd and her behaviour.

I hate it and am so glad that I very rarely go in there as usually I am picking up ds.

Horrible feeling :(

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coppertop · 09/06/2006 16:40

BH :(

I get some odd looks when I take all 3 into town. The worst was probably at half-term when ds2 did a runner through a busy shopping centre. The crowds parted like the Red Sea to let him go through and then turned to watch me racing behind, pushing dd's pram and trying to convince ds1 to move a little faster. Blush You can imagine the looks.

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Mo2 · 09/06/2006 16:48

I don't have a special needs child, and since being on Mumsnet I feel as if I have learnt a lot about people's feelings and reactions to this subject. It's also made me think a lot about my own behaviour and interactions with special needs children and parents.

I wouldn't necessarily assume you are being 'judged' (although I do understand why you might feel like that). I think sometimes people look on out of interest/ curiosity/ concern whatever - lots of reasons which are non-judgemental. I know I have done this in the past, but Mumsnet has made me realise it, and I now find myself 'checking' myself for doing/ saying something which might be construed as rude or judgemental.

Yes, people may be thinking 'why can't that mother control her child', but equally they could be thinking, 'gosh poor woman, she's got quite a lot to cope with' or 'that reminds me of my friend x's son' or 'I wonder how I would handle that' or any number of things.

I am also guilty of staring/ looking at mother's with twins and thinking, 'would I dress them the same or differently', 'how does she cope?' etc etc.

I'm not saying this very well, but perhaps try not to assume that if people are looking they are necessarily being judgemental. As a non-SN mum I find it very hard to know what the politically-correct thing is to say sometimes, and I am painfully aware of my own ignorance. Sometimes this manifests itself as a rude awkwardness or reluctance to engage. Sad

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 20:10

When ds1 was at mainstream children used to stop their parents and say "look that's XXXX's mum"

Thank god I don't have to do that now.

Lots of people look when out and about, ds1's behaviour is frankly so odd and uncontrollable atm that most work out fairly quickly that something strange is going on. The others gawp and tut.

Playground is harder, but don't be too paranoid, just smile sweetly.

If they have a problem with your dd's behaviour when they know she has SN then they are idiots - or "stupid people not worth bothering with" as my mother says.

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Davros · 09/06/2006 20:28

That's a good post Mo2. I DO have a special needs child and I'm a very outgoing and nosey person, but I still feel that I'm not always sure what to say if its a child with another disability or an awkward situation (I still plough on!).
BH, they are looking at you because they are Envy - this will sound gushy but its true - you are a good looking young woman with a nice and friendly personality, I reckon that's why the ones who don't know you are up to!

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Saker · 09/06/2006 20:55

I really agree with what you say Mo. I have a special needs child but I still didn't know how to look or not look when a very severely disabled child came to our playgroup one time. I think people are often sympathetic or just curious and we do all complain that people don't realise what we have to deal with so perhaps it doesn't hurt them to see it for themselves.

I walk with Ds2 in the Major Buggy to collect Ds1 from school nearly every day as Ds2 is still mostly on half days at his own school. When I first had the Major I was self-conscious but I think people have got used to seeing him in it now and I don't really care. I feel more embarassed on the few days we have to drive when he wants to run ahead and I am battling to keep hold of him because I can't trust him not to run into the road. And the other day it suddenly struck me what other people must think as he often presses the top of his head hard into the playground which looks funny in itself and then you can see he is not yet potty trained because his pullup sticks out the back. However he went to preschool there and I definitely feel better for knowing that nearly all the other mothers do know he has special needs. I feel they are mostly sympathetic and I actually feel slightly more secure knowing that if he did decide to run out the gate I'm sure someone would stop him because they know him.

What I find a lot more uncomfortable about going into the school playground is seeing all Ds2's contemporaries coming out in Reception, the class he would have been in if he had been NT and seeing how far ahead of him they are in every way. Also when I see other children look at him funny or mistreat him it pains me.

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2mum · 09/06/2006 22:55

I know what this feels like as the older ds gets the more noticeable there is something wrong with him. Ive been crying a lot lately when i see kids the same age as ds walking and asking questions with their mum. It really hurts me even though i love him to bits. And also when i see kids out on the street playing although they are older than ds who is 3, they are only 2 or 3 years older.

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:01

I think 3 is the hardest age- it's when it first becomes really obvious.

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:08

I think so too jimjams as when theyre two and still in a buggy theyre still wee.

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:13

And by the time they're 7 you're just a cynical old battleaxe with crocodile skin. :o or :( It's still raw at 3.

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:13

And by the time they're 7 you're just a cynical old battleaxe with crocodile skin. :o or :( It's still raw at 3.

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:16

Im hoping to be a cynical old battleaxe with crocodile skin in another 4 years thats what im aiming for jimjams Grin I might also be grey haired by then as my ds1 has adhd as well!

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:17

Bimey! DH has the grey in this house :o

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:20

I think my dh has grey too but you cant notice it as his hair is dirty fair. You cant miss it in my blooming brown hair!

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sphil · 09/06/2006 23:34

I agree about 3 being a bit of a milestone. Just recently both DH and I have become more aware of getting 'looks' from people when we are out and DS2 is flapping or making his favourite 'I'm just about to hawk up a great big ball of phlegm' noise (thankfully he never does Grin). We've been protected for a while because DS2 is quite small for his age and people just think he's 2. But I sense this period is coming to the end as he gets nearer to 4. Can one buy crocodile skin on e-bay?

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:36

If there is any on ebay i want it!

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:41

It develops after years of anger and resentment and sadness that goes beyond anything you've ever felt before. I wouldn't mind flogging mine on ebay. :)

Something to look forward to :o Chuck in a few officious officials, some non-existent NHS therapy, a few rows with the LEA and hey presto you emerge looking rather crocodilian.

Seriously though I do think 3 is hard, you don't know where you're going, everything may still end up turning out ok, and as you say the stares and tuts start and you have to try and defend yourself when you don't really understand yourself what is going on.

It does get better after 3 though, whatever is in store.

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geekgrrl · 09/06/2006 23:45

I don't have any problems in the playground (it's a small school and everybody knows everyone else) and I guess it's easier for us when we're out as dd's disability is so visible. Or maybe I've developed croc skin alreadyGrin - I don't notice people staring, only when she has a tantrum (and well, who can blame them really, it is hard to ignore).

Worst thing was when I was getting changed after baby swimming with dd when she was about 14 months old and just the cutest, smiliest, cuddliest baby ever - this heavily pregnant woman was in the same changing area and kept looking at dd (who was sitting there playing, cute as pie) as though she was a big pile of dog sh*t, with a really venomous stare.:( She didn't take her eyes off dd. I couldn't think of anything to say (being so used to hearing how gorgeous dd is!) and had a big cry in the car afterwards.:(

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:46

Grin @ crocodilian. I think im in the early stages of growing a thicker skin at the minute. I hope i end up fully crocodilian like you in the next few years jimjams Smile

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Jimjamskeepingoffvaxthreads · 09/06/2006 23:47

cow- Imaginary voodoo dolls and imaginary pins work well for me in those situations!

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geekgrrl · 09/06/2006 23:49

Grin I did have evil thoughts about her baby maybe turning out to have something far worse than DS - but of course shouldn't wish problems on anyone's child and all that...

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2mum · 09/06/2006 23:50

She was just jealous cos your daughters cute and she was prbably worried her baby to be was going to come out looking like her!

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geekgrrl · 09/06/2006 23:51

LOL 2mumGrin

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octavia · 10/06/2006 21:41

yes and just latley I haven't been dealing with it particulary well,but I suppose it will get easier.Actually its just dawned on me that ds will have to move schools next year . think I will just give up

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Blossomhill · 10/06/2006 22:17

Aww Davros - thank you. That was so sweet what you said :) xx

I just feel as though people look at dd as a 2nd class citizen and I hate it :(

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006 · 10/06/2006 22:33

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