People can be mean. That comes as no surprise to people with special needs and their families. Often times people don’t even realize that they are being offensive, but there are many preconceived notions about people with disabilities that people still hold on to. These ideals lead them to saying rude comments or spouting ignorance, whether that’s intentional or unintentional. Having to deal with that far too often can be frustrating for anyone living with a disability and their families. Sometimes you can be so frustrated that you just don’t know what to do. At Lexington Services, we have developed a five part strategy to deal with ignorance and rude comments. Take a deep breath, read these strategies and get back to your day.
Take a Breath and Remain Calm
This is just good in any situation where someone has uttered rude comments, but especially when it’s done out of ignorance. In this situation, your emotions are fueled by a long history of misunderstanding and seclusion. It can be too easy to make an irrational and possibly hurtful response if you don’t try to retain control of your emotions. Taking a deep breath or two will allow you to center your response before you make your own rude comments.
Ignore the Comments Entirely
One of the easiest ways to deal with rude comments is to entirely ignore them. The most ignorant people will likely remain ignorant no matter what you say or do. Is it worth the time to let their negativity bring you and your loved ones down? Someone else’s opinion does not define you or your family. If people are being ignorant and spouting rude comments, it’s better to walk away and ignore them.
Allow Humor To Diffuse The Situation
Humor is a great deterrent for ignorance, but you have to be careful when using humor to defuse rude comments. If you’re upset, humorous quips could come across as snarky. Furthermore, with the wrong audience, a humorous statement with a little bit of bite could come across as offensive. Humor is a lighthearted way to brush off comments about you or your child though.
Respond With Short Answers
You don’t owe anyone a response when they say rude things or even when they offer unsolicited advice about how to parent or what they believe might work. The quickest way to shut down these types of conversations is with short sentences that are not open ended. Short answers also tend to be less conversational, stopping people in their tracks.
Use This Moment To Inform or Teach
The reality is that most ignorant or rude comments come from a place of misinformation. Sometimes, when people are rude to you or they offer misguided advice, they simply just don’t understand. When it comes to autism and other cognitive disabilities, there is a lot of misinformation out in the world. It’s not your job to change people, but the only way we can change public perception is to stop the spread of misinformation with facts.
Nothing about dealing with rude comments is pleasant, but it’s unfortunately a part of life with special needs or with a person that has special needs. Sometimes these types of interactions can be isolating. The best thing to do when you feel alone is to seek a community. We’re here for you at Lexington Services. Reach out with your concerns, your frustrations or your questions and we’ll be there for you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.