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Out on the Town

Going out with a child who has disabilities can be an emotionally, physically and mentally draining event. Where can I park? Do they have accessible restrooms? Will people stare at us? What if my child decides to make a lot of noise? How will I get my child around? Because of these questions and worries, I am not surprised that there are always so few children with special needs out at Discovery Place, Imaginon, Nature Museum and all the other places Charlotte has to offer. It can be a terrifying thing to do! The first few times I took Ben out in his walker, I fought tears the entire time – tears for being so proud of him and for being scared of the possibilities, good and bad.

In the 6 years that we have been taking Ben places, we have had one uncomfortable situation where a parent did not address their child’s rude comment. Other than that, we have many children come up and ask questions about Ben, his walker and why he is the way he is. I always make it a point to thank the child for asking the question because I think their interest is okay and I welcome it. Not that I think we all have to take on the job of de-mystifying people with special needs, but I do think it helps to be open, honest and courteous when asked genuine questions.

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