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Listen To Children… With A Grain Of Salt

, , , , | Healthy | August 28, 2021

My little sister and I are maybe six and thirteen, and we’re at an activity centre, thanks to a course that helps kids from disadvantaged families have a slightly more “normal” childhood. Usually, our dad drops us off, we spend the day doing fun stuff we don’t normally get the chance to do, and then he comes to pick us up.

Today, we have been dropped off a little early, and we’re playing tig while waiting for the other kids to arrive. My sister trips over a step and bangs her wrist. There appears to be a small cut, and she has tears in the corners of her eyes. The adults responsible for us ask if they need to call our dad, but I overrule them. I tell them it’s just a small cut; she’s being a crybaby and needs to get over it. She’s not even actually crying, just about to. The adults listen to me, but they really should not.

My dad has always been the kind of person who shouts at me whenever I cry, telling me off for crocodile tears and telling me I’m being ridiculous and such, so I’m projecting this onto my sister. My dad is autistic and the sound of us crying always causes him genuine pain, which means he can’t deal with us properly, but we won’t find this out for many years yet.

At the moment, all I know is that crying equals bad, and she needs to deal with the pain without crying like I have been expected to. Also, my sister has an incredibly high pain tolerance due to years of medical issues, so I should have known that if she’s feeling the pain, then the pain is serious. She can barely join in the activities that day because her wrist hurts so much, and one of the other kids makes her a sling from some of the material we have access to today. I just roll my eyes at this and continue playing as normal because, clearly, she’s being silly, and I’m not going to stop my fun to baby her.

Some hours later, our dad returns to collect us. The adults mention to him that she banged her wrist earlier but that it’s nothing to worry about. He removes her makeshift sling and her wrist is swollen. I don’t really get what he’s all upset about, but he takes us to the hospital to get it looked at, which I’m kind of numb to since we’ve been in them a lot, and I still don’t realise that this is serious. They find that her wrist is broken. 

Looking back at the situation now, I’m horrified that these adults just accepted the word of an autistic preteen girl instead of appropriately dealing with the medical emergency, and I’m disgusted at my own attitude towards my sister’s pain. On the bright side, my sister’s wrist is no longer broken, and she hasn’t needed to be in hospital since before the health crisis, though she will need another appointment soon.