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Don’t label children who may be different

“At Cradle Beach Camp, ‘abnormal is normal,’ so all kids fit in” was the statement that burst out of my cousin’s mouth. Those words then jumped out at me in print – her upset stemming from a July 27 article in The News regarding Cradle Beach. Coffee klatch and doughnut-fest were immediately put on hold as my cousin read to me the article that “hurt home” more than “hit home” for her.

She is a single mother of three children, two of whom have autism. All three are Cradle Beach attendees. It’s been a life-altering curve for her. It also induced the deletion of “abnormal” from our vocabulary. Let’s face it, abnormal has a negative undertone no matter how you use it. I Googled abnormal, which is defined, “not normal, unusual or exceptional.” I Googled special needs, which is defined, “the individual requirements of a person with a disadvantaged background or a mental, emotional or physical disability.” In today’s tough job market, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that an economically disadvantaged family is abnormal, would you?

What I do know is we wouldn’t dream of using the word abnormal in a sentence when referencing any of my cousin’s children. They are “our normal.” Maybe the headline could have read “exceptional is normal.”

Kris-An Cochrane Szczublewski

West Seneca