It’s the first day of fall :) Ahhh..that means snuggling with blankets, smelling pumpkin spice, and the first batch of spiced tea!
This week has been full of blessings!
A few weeks ago, I got home and there was a little boy and his mom walking on our street. I’ve seen them a few times before and waved to them as I drove by. I was walking out to get my mail (my favorite part of the day!) and I heard “HELLO! HELLO! I’m walking my dog. She likes to go for walks.” There was the cutest little fella holding the tiniest little Chihuahua I’ve ever seen. I immediately squatted down to eye level and started chatting with him. I was so excited to finally meet someone else who lives on my street. Making friends with your neighbors is tough!
Gabe and I talked for a little while before his mom asked him if they could finish their walk. As he began walking away he turned and said: “By the way, I have Tourettes. So if I ever hurt your feelings I’m sorry.” I smiled and said I have a friend named Hannah who has Tourettes. His face lite up and he looked at me in awe. Gabe said: “You mean there are more people like me?”. Be still my breaking heart! I told him that my mom had several students with Tourettes and Gabe couldn’t believe it.
From what I’ve gathered here and there his classmates haven’t been very welcoming and accepting of him. So I knew we had to be friends. I make it a point to walk out to the mail box when I get home to speak to him :)
Yesterday, I pulled onto my street and saw my little neighbor out for his afternoon walk. He was quite a ways down from my house and I was a bit sad as I enjoy saying hi to him.
No sooner had I pulled into my driveway than I heard “Hello! Hello! I came to show you my tree!”
There was little Gabe and his puppy :) They’d run all the way back up the street to say Hello! My day was made! Gabe began telling me about his afternoon walk, the cool stuff he’d seen and his awesome pinecone that was going to become a Paleo tree. We talked about what color he was going to paint it and he was very excited.
Gabe is such an amazing little guy and I am so glad we’ve become friends.
Did you know that Tourettes affects over 136,000 children in the United States? Boys are affected three to five times more often than girls. Most often, in addition to having Tourette’s syndrome, 86% also have been diagnosed with at least one additional mental health, behavioral, or developmental condition.
It breaks my heart that children are not taught to be friends with children with disabilities. Growing up one of my best friends at school was a little girl with a disability. My mom said the very first day of school she hung around to watch me for a few minutes. Within 5 minutes I had marched up to the little girl (who was wheelchair bound from polio), introduced myself, and said we’re going to be friends. I immediately began pushing her around the playground and Brianna and I became fast friends. I even moved my desk in our classroom so I could sit by her. (Totally breaking the alphabetical order rule…sorry Mrs. Shiffman!). I’m so thankful that my parents raised me to look past physical and mental handicaps.
As people and parents, we need to work towards building a world where children with disabilities are not seen as disabled or handicapped. They are beautiful and deserve to be treated that way :)
How can you help you child learn to be friends with someone who suffers from Tourettes? By teaching them about Tourettes and it’s symptoms. Explain that sometimes their friends may make noises or funny movements (tics). That they aren’t being silly or rude, their body just can’t control it. Talk about that sometimes they may say something mean, but they aren’t being mean. Talk about what to do if their friend starts feeling anxious or agitated, a simple it’s ok or I’m here is very reassuring. Some people with Tourettes find a simple touch to be very calming.
There are a ton of great resources online!
One Neighbor Chatting Lemon