Now Reading: People Want To Help Special Needs Parents! You Just Need To Let Them Know You Need Help!

People Want To Help Special Needs Parents! You Just Need To Let Them Know You Need Help!

This is kind of a hard post for me to write because on paper it’s kind of the opposite of what I’ve written before. 

I have written many times before how I’m not a big fan of the inspiration porn/feel good stories where it’s a typical adult does something nice for a special needs kid. 
My biggest problem is just that these are the stories that always seem to go viral. 
However maybe in a small way these kinds of stories have made typical people a bit more aware of special-needs folks and how they can help them and impact their day. 
We had a few different small experiences lately where typical people have bent over backwards and gone out of their way to help us. Sometimes help us in ways that we didn’t really need but it was still a nice thought. 
And as special-needs parents we often ride this fine line of not wanting to ask for help because we are so tough and don’t need it …and also not wanting to ask for help because we don’t want to be rebuffed. 
However we had several small experiences lately that showed me that people want to help. 
It makes them feel good about themselves, makes them feel proud that they helped you. And if you really go out of your way to thank them and tell them how amazing they are it makes their day and it spreads the love. 
Here’s two recent examples, one that has to do with my son and his autism and the other has to do with wifey. 
Last year wifey went to the U2 concert at Madison Square Garden with some of her girlfriends. Wifey gets a bit nervous in crowded situations so at a concert she always likes to wait for the crowd to really die down and file out before leaving her seat. So she prepared her friends that they were going to sit for a while and let the crowds slowly file out before going to the escalators and staircases. 
And 10 minutes after the show is when the security guard starts giving them a hard time. 
Wifey has an inhaler in her purse that looks like an asthma person’s inhaler. However that is not what its purpose is.  It’s for a digestive issue.
But after the third security guard said “come on guys you’ve got to leave” she held up the inhaler as it say I can’t leave right now. 
And the guys demeanor immediately changed and he said “oh I totally get it, I totally get it…my son needs one of those… my son has asthma too!” 
Wifey immediately felt guilty that she sort of deceived this guy. 
And this guy proceeded to be their protector and voice. So much so that when other security guards came over and tried to get them to leave this guy would pop out of nowhere and say “no guys… those are my friends… they need to stay …she’s got asthma.”
So because she felt guilty and because the guy was being super super nice and helpful and was bending over backwards to help them wifey and her friends went out of their way and bent over backwards to thank him. 
When they finally left their seats, they went to the ladies room to kill even more time to let the crowds die down.  And as they came out of the ladies room  there was that security guard checking up on them. She thanked him profusely, he again mentioned how he knows her concerns because his son also has asthma.  And then they took a couple of selfie’s together… and wifey made his day and in his mind he made her day and he had a great story to tell. Not a story worthy of going viral but a story to tell his wife and kids of how he helped a woman with asthma. 
People want to help people… they want to be useful and helpful when you give them that chance, that opportunity 
And the second story has to do with my son…   with the king 
I wrote about in my post last week how we had to go to our local hospital to get outpatient blood work and x-rays done for the Kings mysterious limp. 
Wifey called the radiology department ahead of time from the car on the drive over and was asking the woman how long they are open, and how long does she think the wait will be, etc.
And I can’t hear exactly what the woman is saying on the phone but I can hear her demeanor is sort of like “it is what it is, you’re going to have to wait…”
So I whispered to wifey “tell her why you’re asking.” 
And wifey proceeded to explain “the reason why am asking is my son has autism and epilepsy and it’s hard for him to wait and xrays and bloodwork can be difficult for him, and we have to give him Benadryl to knock him out for the x-ray” yada yada yada
And as soon as she explained that, I could hear the woman on the phone’s demeanor change. And she opened up and was like “of course, I used to work with kids autism!  I will make sure you’re taken care of.”
We get to the hospital and go to admitting… We bring him in a wheelchair, yes because of the limp, but also because it might make us look more sympathetic.  we ask politely if they can rush things along for all the same reasons (non verbal, epileptic, has trouble with this kind of stuff, etc). 
And again the woman in admitting bends over backwards to rush us through the admitting process. 
We get upstairs and the woman in radiology who chatted with wifey on the phone is there waiting for us… tells us again how she used to work with autistic kids, and lets us cut to the front of the xray line…
And then the two young women who were the xray technicians?  They were rocks stars too!  And at every stop wifey and I went out of our way to thank them and tell them how amazing they were, and how easy they made this whole process was…  We might’ve been laying it on a little thick, but that’s what people like to hear.  We made their day.  We made them feel great about themselves… they helped someone who asked for help… and they had a story to tell their family at night.  “What happened at work today?”  Well…
After the xrays we are waiting for the xray disk… and our friend at the reception desk comes out, hand them to wifey and whispers “I gave you two copies of the disk”
We didn’t need two copies, we didn’t ask for two copies, but this is one other special perk (besides helping us cut the line) that this woman could bestow on us so she got us an extra copy of the disk.
So even though we didn’t need it we went out of our way… “oh thank you so much for everything!  and extra copy of the disk?  that is so nice of you!  that’ll come in handy… we will keep it in his files!”
We then did the bloodwork and we needed two people to accomplish this, one to draw the blood and another to help hold his arm steady… and once again these people were awesome… and we made a point of telling them and making their day.
And wifey got the first name of everyone who helped us and wrote on the hospital’s Facebook page thanking them.  And got a reposnse from the PR person thanking her.
People are so used to hearing complaints about their employees that when you pay them a compliment it is HUGE!!
Anyway, this post is long & rambling, but the whole point of it is that people want to help others who need help.
If you are brave enough to ask for help and/or ask for special privileges for your special needs kid we’ve found that people are willing to bend over backwards to give you that help… and will many times go above and beyond… and sometimes give you special things that you never even asked for and / or don’t need…
When people do these nice things for you, it’s your job to bend over backwards to thank them for it. 
Do you have any stories and/or experiences that are similar to mine?  If so I’d love to hear them. 
That’s all I got.  Over and out

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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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