Every once in a while it happens. Not all the time, but often and a lot too much for me. It happened today. I know that people don’t mean to do it. They are simply ignorant and don’t have the experience to know the difference.
2. Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: “ignorant of astronomy”. (or in my definition disability)
After taking Sweet G to see one of his many specialists today we decided to do some Christmas shopping since we have yet to buy the first gift. We were in Best Buy looking for Johnny Carson videos since that is the only gift G has requested. I decided to take a look at the Ipad to see if it would provide an appropriate avenue for G to be able to access educational internet game sites. I walked up to the display and began listening as the sales person was describing it to another customer. He began talking her out of buying the $500.00 Ipad and into buying an eReader instead. That is when I entered the conversation. I gave my glorious review of the Kindle to the lady since that seemed to be the direction the sales person was leading the woman. (I just have to point out that they do not sell Kindles in that store.)
Seeing G sitting in his wheelchair these two individuals made the assumption that because G was not impatiently whining and jabbering like a typical 7 year old would be if made to sit still while his mom shopped for him an expensive electronic device that he must be mentally handicapped. Each of them it turns out have sons with autism. Really, they should know better but obviously they don’t. Well, I say they both assumed he had mental deficiencies but actually it was mainly the salesman. After talking the woman out of buying the Ipad he commences to talk me out of it also. He suggested a leap pad learning system. His 16 year old autistic son uses one because he is on the mental level of a four year old. I tell the man that I am a certified teacher and that I am homeschooling G. I stress that he needs a touchscreen computer type device that he can use to explore the internet more independently and as a means of being able to type out his schoolwork since he can’t write. I didn’t go there to buy a toy. I went to buy an educational tool but quickly became aware that this was not going to be the day that I would purchase one. If this poor guy isn’t on his way to being fired–he should be. In less that 15 minutes he managed to talk two customers out of buying a minimum of $600.00 worth of electronics. Two sales in 15 minutes adding up to $1,200.00. That is most salespeople’s dream and apparently this man’s worst nightmare.
What is it about seeing someone in a wheelchair (specifically a child) that makes people assume that person has a mental deficiency? You don’t assume someone wearing glasses also has a hearing impairment. G is a little behind his peers but not significantly. In fact if it weren’t for feeding issues he might be in danger of loosing speech therapy because his language skills are only borderline low. He is a very bright child. He has an amazing sense of humor and has become quite capable of givng his big brother a run for his money when it comes to smack talking each other. He is very quick witted.
It is just something that baffles me. I wonder how many times I have offended someone by assumptions I made because I wasn’t informed about thier situation. We all do it. Everyday we make split second judgements about people we encounter. Why do we do that? Human nature? We are aware of it when it is aimed at us or someone we love but oh how quick we are to forget.