What to do when your Special Needs child is stared at? I did this.

 Down syndrome or no Down syndrome, every child is unique. There are children who are extremely naughty, nasty and then some who are super sensitive, funny and social. I am sure you all have come across children throwing tantrums at airports, shopping malls and other places. What do we do? We do look or overlook, smile, stare, glance again or understand, then why does it bother so much when others do it to us? Is it because we feel different and not part of the “normal” group or is it because deep inside we are still fighting with the social stigma related to the children with Down syndrome or other disabilities?
I would like to share an incident that happened some time back and how it changed my perspective on glances and stares of strangers.
The place was the passport office. The new passports were to be made so both the kids were with me. We were there for almost 2 hours and there were couple more to go. Everybody was tired but we had no option but to wait. 

Aarshia was fine in the beginning but soon she lost the interest in sitting and wanted to run and explore the place. I told her not to play around but she was bored to the core and was now being the tantrum queen. 

I tried to occupy her with the things we had but she didn’t want those any longer and her free spirit made the usually quiet and boring office turned into a race course cum crying bar. While it doesn’t usually happen but I could feel those glances of people, trying to fill in their forms, talking, waiting, putting back or taking out stuff from their folders and amidst all this Aarshia and her extra strong vocal chords were at her best plus the lying down on the floor was adding the extra zing to the already tensed situation.

 I tried talking her into sleeping but she was not in a mood to let go of such a golden opportunity of getting the attention of so many people all at once.

I had already run with her, after her, before her. Tried every trick to make her sit down and play with either the iPad or colour her book but she just wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what to do? I tried smiling at people and they gave me fake ones. But being a teacher and a mother, I wasn’t ready to believe that there is no way, I can make her behave.

 While I was trying to weigh the situation, Aarshia was lying down on the floor, fully knowing that this is something I just can’t take (our kids are really smart…trust me) I suddenly had an idea and did the stupidest thing I could ever do (still feels goosy thinking I really did it) I kept my bag on the chair and lied on the floor beside her!! OMG! Is she out of her mind? I was wondering if people were thinking this for me, but guess what happened. 

Aarshia never thought I would do something like this. She couldn’t understand what happened and looked at me suspiciously. I gave her a big smile (still on the floor), I pretended to have backache because of the floor and smiled again. Aarshia sat down, I sat down as well. She smiled at me and I did the same. Guess she felt funny and relieved that Mama dear can now understand how cool the view is from lying on the ground! 
I understood, it indeed was amazing when I could jump that fence of awkwardness and socially accepted behavior and be on the side of my daughter. We kept sitting for a while and then she came and sat on my lap. A few minutes later, I told her that my back was hurting and if she would like to be carried to the chair and sit with mama? She agreed and I took her to the chair, while still being glanced on, however now, I could also see some smiles and empathy on those faces. I know this cannot be model behavior but what is? We keep caring about random people who we might never meet again and keep pushing our child to fit into those social frames which are too difficult to follow anyway. All I know is that, this instant reaction of mine made my daughter understand that mama is with her, in being sad, happy or silly.
Please share if you too have done something stupid for your child?
Aarshia and Mama




  1. I absolutely love this. So eloquently put “We keep caring about random people who we might never meet again and keep pushing our child to fit into those social frames which are too difficult to follow anyway.” This is a vital understanding and I have never thought of the words for it. Wonderful.