Would You Let Your Child Get Elective Plastic Surgery? I Would!
While I was so worried about my son’s physical looks at his birth, what I did not know then was that he had autism. Diagnosed at age two, he spent the first years of elementary school in special education classes. He returned to the classroom of typically developing students and was diagnosed with Tourette’s a year later.
Certainly, all of us have challenges in life. As parents, we hope that any challenges our child has will built character and resilience in him. For the children profiled on Dateline and millions of other across the country, that is not always the case.
Our son was bullied in junior high, pushed in lockers, mocked for the cadence of his speech, and generally made miserable. He was in Boy Scouts, and years later I learned his troop friends went to bat for him, getting rid of the bullies and helping restore his self-confidence.
Today our son is an adult, a college-educated man, who overcame many challenges to be where he is today, working in his field in a major east coast city. He still has challenges, as we all do. Had I been able to do anything to help him more when he was younger, I would have done it -- surgery included.
Is it our job to judge others?
I don’t think it is fair to minimize or judge negatively what people perceive to be challenges in their lives.
For the last decade, I’ve advocated for persons with disabilities through a local rehabilitation agency. I’ve met some of the bravest people, young men who became quadriplegic through accidents, children who battle deafness, adults with post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis and ALS. I understand how a parent of someone with a profound disability could read this story and brush it aside.
But I also think when you appeal to the parent in all of us, we understand. We would do anything, within our ability, to make life easier for our children. And when that is not possible, we stand beside them physically and emotionally, helping them to discover inner strength.
Amy Abbott writes "The Raven Lunatic" column for 13 Indiana newspapers. She's the author of two books "The Luxury of Daydreams" and "A Piece of Her Mind." Her third book, "A Piece of Her Heart" will be published in 2014.