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Thread: what do kids see? - Good article about kids and disability

  1. #11
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    Just wait until you've been asked questions for 30 odd years. I just think its kind of ignorant to go up to somebody you don't know & the first words out of you mouth are "what's wrong with you"

    Would you ask a obese person "why are you fat" as the very first thing you say to them?

  2. #12
    There was a little girl with her mother I saw while waiting for the elevator. The girl briefly started at me and my chair, with a bit of curiosity in her face. Immediately, the mother tugged at her to snatch the girl away from looking at my direction. This type of reaction by parents teach kids an understanding that it is not cool to stare or ask questions. It may also instill in those children, that that person in a chair is something to avoid, maybe having something wrong and too different than 'regular' people to acknowledge and recognize, even associate with.

    There were a couple young boys riding their bikes down the sidewalk ahead of their father, toward me one summer. One boy suddenly stopped his bike in front of me to ask - "what happened to you?". I just replied, I had a car accident... The boy nonchalantly replied with an "oh" and a sort of half satisfied look, and took off riding again. The father came up soon thereafter, embarrassed and profusely apologizing for the incident and his son. I smiled and assured him it was ok. I found it kinda cute and funny.

    Recently, outside an ice-cream shoppe, while waiting at one of the sidewalk tables, a father and his little girl (maybe less than 2 yo) were strolling by. Little girl (who was already taking only tiny steps) got distracted by my chair and kept turning her head to look, very curious and seeming a bit confused. Father had a hard time keeping her coming along, as she kept turning her little body. She then said in that adorable cute baby-talk - "why... chai-aw"? OMG, she was so cute! I just simply said, "Oh... I got hurt". She was still unsure, as father then repeated that "she got hurt" that's why is in a chair, explaining and trying to help her understand (and probably re-direct her focus), as he was trying to get her to follow... Father and I smiled through the whole exchange, and they walked away. Such a great moment.

    Three different reactions and responses from parents with their children.

    Children are mostly unassuming. To teach children that asking questions is bad or offensive and to suppress curiosity, rather than showing them HOW to ask questions appropriately and with courtesy or respect (if they do ask in inappropriate ways), leaves them with nothing but assumptions; assumptions which will guide them into adulthood and their future engagement with others (with disabilities).
    Last edited by chick; 10-20-2007 at 12:59 AM.

  3. #13
    Senior Member canuck's Avatar
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    I guess I'm at the point where I don't think I need to be a rolling public service announcement for spinal cord damage. Besides Spina Bifida isn't the easiest thing to explain to the types that ask the "what happened" question as the first thing out of their mouth. Once again would be considered acceptable to go up to a obese person & ask them "why are you fat"

    Maybe its a Canadian thing, I don't know.

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by canuck
    Just wait until you've been asked questions for 30 odd years.
    Sorry, but no. I doubt that another 10 yrs of this is going to change my opinion much.

    I just think its kind of ignorant to go up to somebody you don't know & the first words out of you mouth are "what's wrong with you"
    We were talking about kids asking questions in general. Nobody said anything as specifically rude as you are now suggesting. However, if a child asked me that question, I would not be offended and I would answer. I appreciate that kids tend to be very straight forward. They don't beat around the bush or waste time hemming and hawing when the truth is, all they are looking for is to learn about something new.

    Would you ask a obese person "why are you fat" as the very first thing you say to them?
    Nope, but if I was chatting with someone who had a cast on their arm, I'm pretty sure that I would eventually get around to asking them what happened.

    I guess I'm at the point where I don't think I need to be a rolling public service announcement for spinal cord damage.
    I understand it gets tiresome after a while, but overall, I disagree with your stance on this. I have long figured that if answering a few questions helps to conquer ignorance and make life easier for myself and others with disabilities, then it is totally worth my time.

    Besides Spina Bifida isn't the easiest thing to explain to the types that ask the "what happened" question as the first thing out of their mouth.
    Actually, I think it would be quite simple to explain. You were born with damage to your spinal cord, so you are paralyzed from the waist (or wherever) down. Not much different than telling people that one has broken their back and suffers similar damage.

    C.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by chick
    Children are mostly unassuming. To teach children that asking questions is bad or offensive and to suppress curiosity, rather than showing them HOW to ask questions appropriately and with courtesy or respect (if they do ask in inappropriate ways), leaves them with nothing but assumptions; assumptions which will guide them into adulthood and their future engagement with others (with disabilities).
    Indeed. Your entire post shows a wonderful perspective on this topic.

    C.

  6. #16
    I will never resent a question from a kid. They just are what they are. There parents, on the other hand...Yes, I'm talking to you, big fat lady in sky-blue stretch pants buying Cheetos and Coke at WalMart! None of your damned bizness!

  7. #17
    Senior Member darrel's Avatar
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    children are inocent of knowing what rude is , and you should not get upset with them. the only way that they will understand is if you answer there simple questions. if you feel that you shouldn't be a public anouncer for your injury/illness then you should stay inside. it is replies like yours that make ppl think that all handicap ppl are bitter.
    do you have this same attitude with your family members?

  8. #18
    Canuck is kind to dogs. I don't see him being cruel to kids, really. Canuck, when they seem rude tell them "I didn't mind my mother."

  9. #19
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    A lot of what a child sees is due to their perspective. Young children can accept almost anything and think of it as normal unless someone convinces them it's not.

    When I was injured each one of my children had a different reaction to me in a wheelchair, but my youngest daughter was only 2 wks old. She has never known me as anything other than SCI. To her, I was her father who just happened to have wheels. No big deal ever.

    She rode in my lap whenever she got tired or wanted affection. She got so used to this that she developed her own special sense of balance. I used to worry that she might fall off, but that was never the case. Fast, slow, stop or wheelies she kept her center of gravity without hanging on.

    She sees all people in wheelchairs as pretty much normal. And that sounds like another good sense of "balance" to me.

  10. #20
    That's cute ala.
    Once I rolled into a waiting room and a little boy who saw me turned to his mother and asked, "Mommy, why is that man driving his tractor in here?" We thought that was cute while the mother was totally embarrassed. Since then we often refer to my wheelchair as a tractor as an inside joke. I have no problem talking with children and I also appreciate their straightforwardness.
    When my daughter is tired of walking she jumps on the back of my chair and we go chugging along at top speed with her yelling locomotive sounds. It's all good.

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