Princesses and predictability are my daughter’s two favorite things. Just as we are certain the sun will rise each and every day we are certain that Disney princesses will be our main topic of conversation. We live and breathe princesses. If there ever was a princess trivia night I would be the one to beat. I can tell you who is related to who, what they eat for breakfast, and which one is “two-handed” (ambidextrous).
This Disney princess fascination is not a bad thing. There are girls out there everywhere in their cute princess dresses and crowns. You can’t help but smile as you pass them by. After all what little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? But “little” is the key word here. These girls are 3, 4 and 5 year olds. My princess fascinated daughter is not little, she is 20 and stands out like a sore thumb. I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt somewhat embarrassed the first time we stood in line at a princess meet and greet but over time you get used to the unwanted stares.
Why is it that people have a hard time letting our special needs children enjoy the things they like out in public? What’s so wrong with letting people enjoy what they enjoy regardless of their age and its appropriateness? There is a set of standards in today’s society that seems to think this is taboo if you are atypical. To this day there are still some people out there that believe we must try to persuade these children to like only age appropriate things.
We as neurotypical adults though know how good it feels when we are able to act like a kid again and enjoy “childish” things. Have you ever dressed up on Halloween? Have you ever watched adults walking into a comic con show? That feeling you get when you don your Mickey ears at Disneyworld. And remember in TheSanta Clause 2 movie when the teachers received gifts from their childhood. I bet it made you smile. These are not age appropriate things but we do them because they make us feel good. Society however expects us to do them under circumstances when and where they are deemed acceptable.
And that’s the difference. We know when and where certain things are appropriate. Some children and adults with special needs can not pick up on this golden rule of society. And aren’t they the lucky ones then? So the next time you are out in public and see someone not acting “age appropriate” don’t stare or offer words of advice to the parent. Smile and enjoy the happiness that they must be feeling.
As the sun rises tomorrow and a new year is upon us let it be the year that we have a better understanding not only of those with special needs but of each other.