My Real Boy

As most of you know, our oldest son has Autism. Now, I suppose having raised a child with a disability may make me a little more sensitive to things I hear or read, but typically I don’t let comments get to me. However, I read something today that I’m really struggling with.

A mom, who is very obviously struggling with the challenges her child is facing wrote that she hoped her son would grow up to be a “real boy.”

Ryan’s first diagnosis was mental retardation with autistic-like behaviors. It was very hard to hear that my baby, my first born, was going to go through life having challenges that other children didn’t have. However, at no point did I ever consider that my son was not a “real boy.”

So now I struggle with the fact that a parent would feel that their child is not a real boy because they are facing challenges in life and I read between the lines to hear this person saying that people with disabilities are less real than those without disabilities.

Believe me, I know there are people in the world that very much feel as if someone with a disability is less of a person, but to hear another mother say this about her child is a very difficult thing for me to handle.

Am I just being overly sensitive to this comment?


  1. Not a real boy? If he's not a real boy, what kind of boy is he? I think the biggest challenge we face in life is expectations. It's usually our own expectations that cause disappointment. It sounds like this mother has not yet learned to manage her expectations.

  2. that is just sad. i actually feel bad for the little boy. being a mother…your love is unconditional. i think you are a strong and wonderful mother debbie…. and i also think… no matter what life brings me with my own son – i love him regardless – he is my boy!

  3. I agree…what parent would say that about her child? Perhaps she mis-spoke, characterizing her son that way because she doesn't have the words to explain what she really meant. I want to believe she simply didn't know what to say and what she did say came out wrong.Bonnie

  4. No you arent. I have noticed that folks who normally would comment on my blog, have not since I have been advocating for children with downs. All children deserve love and a family. It breaks my heart to think some moms think these kids are "less" somehow 😦

  5. Oh, wow, that's so sad. I missed this last week when I was caught up in the news in Haiti. Of course you're not overly sensitive. "Real" boys have challenges just like this. Maybe they're all the more real because of them. Of course, I might be biased, given my situation. I think you're sensitized to the issue, given the fact that you are a mother with a child with a serious challenge and it's difficult to hear/see things like a mom wishing for a "real boy" because what she said applies to your boy, and no mom wants people saying things like that about her child.I hope this woman can come to terms with the reality of her son's life and her apparently unrealistic expectations. Sounds like this little guy has enough to deal with on his own end. Shouldn't have to deal with her issues, too.

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