Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



I have friends with kids who run the gamut from mildly challenged to profoundly gifted. Providing for these children in their lives, often where school is concerned, is of utmost importance to these parents and usually that involves some sort of "accommodation" from teachers or others in life.

Of course, some people hear the word accommodation and get a little freaky. Accommodation? Is that like special favors? A head start, reduced expectations, a cheat somehow? You'd better have a really good reason to need me to accommodate your "special needs," seems to be the attitude.

On the other hand, I have also seen people expecting a LOT. That's the way people are. Just like there are people who are innately suspicious and resistant to any deviation from so-called normal, there are people who can take the smallest issue and turn it into a fight that reeks of entitlement and overkill.

Tonight while I was doing the dishes I got to thinking about what a horrendous struggle it was to get me to do the dishes when I was a kid. I have what I guess today would be called "sensory issues". I've toughened up over the years (I no longer gag and nearly vomit at the smell of a wet peanut butter, from a knife dropped in the dish water for example) and perhaps some of my senses have just dulled as I've aged. When I was a kid, though, I was extremely sensitive. The moms I know would have called me a "sock seam kid"--the kid who is driven to distraction because he can feel the seam at the end of his sock if it's not lined up precisely or who screams and cries over a small thing like a shirt tag (which he swears is sewn in with fishing line and feels like it's "stabbing" him). For me, the feel of the dirty dish water, with gathering grease and all the smells of wet food and little particles floating around... well it made the already kind of unpleasant chore of washing the dishes utterly unbearable. (Even now, describing it here in writing sends a shudder of revulsion up my spine.)

As an adult in my own home, especially as someone who likes to cook, I had to get over this issue. As I contentedly washed the dishes tonight, I realized that I haven't so much gotten over my sensitivities (though I have learned to choke back a lot more things as an adult than I could as a kid). I've made accommodations for myself: I buy strongly scented dish detergent and use a lot of it (lavender is my current favorite) and I wear rubber gloves.

That's it. Two small, easily accomplished, relatively insignificant accommodations. I know my limits and triggers and I work around them. Dyslexics learn to use spell-checkers, ADHD kids use fidget toys, I buy seamless socks, tagless shirts, and wash the dishes with rubber gloves on. Sometimes little things can make a life-changing difference. Not everyone who asks for their quirks and differences to be accommodated expects those accommodations to be huge, expensive, inconvenient intrusions and I'm a little sad to know that so many people believe otherwise.



for this post

Blogger eastcoastlife Says:

I used to give the school of my son hell.
I'm pretty accommodating these days, due to my age maybe. I would like to think I'm getting matured.
Have a wonderful year 2007!

Anonymous Pearl Says:

That's fascinating. I love to hear how sensitivities may be able to dull and how easily accomodations can overcome obstacles. Rather than be hard-nosed and not adapt at all to a person and stick on a label, figure out what's the trigger.


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