Special Needs Offenders: I’m So Glad You’re Sorry
Something major has been happening in recent years: People are making major public reparations after they’ve offended people with special needs. Two cases involving kids have recently made headlines. First, after a Chevrolet car dealer in Pocatello, Idaho ran a radio ad that asked, “Are you driving a wimpy truck? Do your kids take the short bus so they won’t be seen in it?” and parents of kids with special needs voiced outrage over the derogatory reference to special ed, the dealer yanked the commercial off air—and is now working on promotions for the state’s Special Olympics.
Around the same time, the Disney Channel pulled an episode of Jessie that made a kid with a gluten allergy an object of ridicule (at one point, another character throws pancakes in his face and everyone laughs). It takes a lot for a major entity like Disney to admit they’ve done wrong, but after a mom of two kids with celiac disease started a change.org petition, Disney announced on Facebook “We are removing this particular episode from our regular programming schedule…. Please accept our apologies for the upset this episode caused.”
It is hardly progress that these offenses are still happening, and that people see nothing wrong with shaming kids who has special needs. It’s disheartening, that’s what it is, as the parent of a kid with special needs. It tells me that we still have a looong way to go for the world to accept kids like Max, who has cerebral palsy. At the same time, though, it is gratifying to hear the apologies. Perhaps the people responsible for these slams will learn their lessons—or maybe they’re just putting on a “sorry” face because social media has shamed them into it. (Or, as may be the case when celebrities use the word “retarded,” their publicists made them.) But no matter what, these stories are raising major public attention and making people more aware that our kids deserve respect.
From my other blog:
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