18 ‘Cures’ for Children With Special Needs That Without a Doubt Work
It’s always interesting when complete strangers offer up their advice — especially about raising children with special needs. Unfortunately, even well-meaning people don’t always know when to keep their opinions to themselves.
The Mighty asked our readers for some of the funniest, most ridiculous or downright outrageous “cures” strangers have suggested for the challenges their children with special needs face. Luckily, these parents, who all love their kids just the way they are, have found a way to laugh at others’ intrusiveness.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “I have a medically complex 4-year-old who’s been tube-fed since [he was] 1. He had major vomiting and aspiration issues and spent a ton of time in the hospital. A home health nurse once told me, ‘If I would just feed him more vegetables’ then he would be better. He was 100 percent tube-fed at the time and not even remotely close to moving to a blended diet… To this day, whenever my son say, has a seizure, pneumonia, meltdowns, etc., we just say, ‘Hurry, cook up some broccoli, he just needs some veggies.'” — Sherie Bedrossian Evans
2. “Our little one has Down syndrome. A lady in Walmart told me we should ‘just have that extra chromosome removed and she’d be good as new.'” — Laura Sloate
3. “For my son who has primary immunodeficiency disease, [people] share that stupid picture of the kid in the mud with a puppy on Facebook that says something about the best way to build an immune system. I get, “Have you let him play outside?” Never. I prefer to keep my kids chained up in the basement… You can’t build on something that isn’t there, but people don’t get that.” — Rondi Clark-Conn
4. “My son (age 43) struggles at times to deal with his mouth/nose secretions and will cough. Someone asked me, “Couldn’t you just flush out his lungs?” With what… ? Water? Think that one through.” — Cathy N Jeff Jlss
5. “A very nice janitor at our old condo we rented asked if he could bless our daughter with holy water he got from Lourdes (a Catholic gift shop). It was a very nice gesture, until he came up to us two weeks later asking if it worked, and he just couldn’t understand why it didn’t.” — Rob Ashe
6. “When my Aspie son was a toddler, I tried explaining to someone that he had a language delay. She actually asked, “Well, do you ever talk to him?” Really, lady? No… never tried that.” — J.b. Toler
7. “I’ve been told many times by many people that if we had another child my (only) special needs child will learn how to behave ‘normally.’ That what she actually has is a simple case of ‘only child syndrome.'” — JayMich Hooper
8. “I was doing some shopping with both of my girls. [The] older one was running around and the little one was very amused and was looking at her sister and laughing. She was also sitting in a wheelchair at that time, unable to stand supported. So one lady comes and says to me, ‘If you’d only allow your child to run and play she wouldn’t need all this wheelchair.’ Surely she must’ve had some difficulty in understanding what wheelchairs are used for?” — Asta Jameelah Remezaite
9. “Next time my neighbor suggests I can spank the autism out of my daughter, I’m going to slap her and ask if it cured her ignorance.” — Danni N Bryan Bee
10. “‘It’s normal for 2-year-olds to hold their breath. Ignore them and they will stop.’ I’m pretty sure my son isn’t turning blue during seizures for attention.” — Tara Lockie
11. “My daughter also has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (brittle bone disease) and very often i get this:”
12. “The one that makes me laugh the most is other people saying they would be able to straighten my kid out. They have no experience whatsoever with special needs kids and yet have all the answers. Let’s rethink that one a bit.” — Kris J Troge
13. “My 5-year-old, healthy-looking son has a feeding tube. We constantly get the, “Have you tried feeding him (fill in the blank)?’ As if there is one elusive food out there and once we find it he will be cured. The second most common thing I get is, “Well, my child was only (fill in the weight),” as if we and the doctors are just using his tube for fun and maybe he doesn’t actually need it.” — Renee Bergeron
14. “My son has autism, and one lady told me the only thing that saved her kids from getting it is that she just doesn’t like the taste of beer or liquor so she didn’t drink during her pregnancy. Um OK? Ignorant and offensive on so many different levels! I was so shocked I didn’t even try to explain the fact that I didn’t drink during my pregnancy either.” — Kelly Rich
15. “One time, a complete stranger came up to my daughter, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, and just grabbed her hands and started praying. After she was done, she gave me her email and told me to message her in a year’s time to let her know that my daughter was walking. Yup. That happened.” — Sabina Cragg
16. “Our clinic was going through a lot of doctor turnover and one of them told me my daughter’s ADHD and other behavior issues were caused by my hubby working a second shift. He said she had no issues, she just needed to spend more time with her dad. Moron. That doc was gone in a few months.” — Debbie Roenneburg
17. “‘You do too much for him, just stop doing stuff and he’ll start talking. You just have to make them.’ I don’t really have any side comments on this one… ” — Meghan Hanley
18. “I had a stranger tell me I could cure my toddler’s cerebral palsy by massaging his feet with lavender. And here I was wasting my time with physiotherapy.” — Elle McGaffin
*Answers have been edited and shortened.