Thursday, April 26, 2012

Are special needs funny?

Today I saw an adoptive mom's advertisement for t-shirts she's selling. One said something about how it wouldn't be terrible to have a kid with special needs, it would be terrible to raise a kid who was cruel to people with special needs. I don't love the implication that it is inherently unwelcome to have a kid with special needs, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind the shirt.

But another shirt said, "Ask me about my attention deficit disorder" and then listed a bunch of random thoughts, ending with, "hi." Um, isn't making fun of a very challenging special need just a little bit cruel?

I sent an email to the mom saying the ADD shirt really made me cringe, and she responded that humor is what parents of SN kids need and that the shirt is her best seller among her clients, who are loving Christians with senses of humor. She also said the creator of the shirt was her 11-year-old son, who has ADD.

I'm not comforted. If her son wants to laugh at his own challenges, awesome. But do the people who see such a shirt recognize and admire a kid who is laughing at his own challenges? Or do they see such a message as sanctioning their own prejudices? I fear it's the latter.

Humor? Absolutely! At our kids' expense? Never.

That's my take. What do you think?


Jill said...

The b

Jomadado said...

Actually, the shirt came from and I am the originator of the quote. I have insane ADD & I wrote the quote one early morning in 2009. It just popped in my head. That's how my brain works. The quote isn negative. Actually, it's effects have been very positive. I've received many messages from people with ADD who we're able to open up about their ADD struggles due to the quote.

Evergreen Covenant Admin said...

I have ADD, and I read ALL of the shirts on that (above) web link, and I laughed at most of them....because I could relate. Even if people ARE laughing about the shirts, and they don't have ADD, I don't know if that means they are laughing at the "expense" of the other person. Many of my friends laugh at the crazy way my brain works, but they love me because of it. I found your site, actually, because I was searching for a blog that was about special needs but that also had a sense of humor. SO MANY blogs about special needs are so serious....I think we can become too sensitive. almost to the point of not being able to enjoy our loved ones with special needs....because we spend all of our time being defensive.

Jill said...

Thanks to you both for your comments. I appreciate your insights. I think it's awesome when we can laugh at ourselves, and I applaud you both for being able to do that. What I wonder is, how many people will see a shirt like the one referenced and think, "Wow, there's someone making light of his own challenges. How awesome!" Or will they think, "Cool, it's okay to me to keep looking down on others because they're different, and here's a shirt to help me do that." I hope it's the former, and maybe if you guys use the shirts as a conversation starter when you wear them, you can educate people that it's the former and help change the world. I'd love to see that!!