I asked the above question on disaboom, a cool web community for anyone touched by disability. Below are my thoughts and a couple of responses to the questions.
I personally do not mind if a kid looks at me and asks “why does that lady have that white cane?”
I don’t mind if a child askes me what my cane is for.
I don’t mind if a parent askes on a childs behalf.
I DO mind when a parent shhhh’s a kid when they ask or yanks them clear out of my path as if I was going to plow them down.
I DO mind when someone gives a kid a really miserable answer to why I have a cane.
Worst answer I ever over heard a mother say to a child about my sight impairment:
“It’s because she does not believe in Jesus enough!”
Let us hope that child never has a disability, they will not only have to deal with all that comes with that but a religious dilemma as well.
Thanks so much,
i agree with you 100% rachel.. i often have kids aks me, “why do you only have 3 fingers?” and “why are your feet like that?”.. it doesnt bother me one bit. like you, it does bother me when parents try and shush their children. or tell them “dont stare at her”.. i know they THINK they are being polite, but thats when i take it upon myself to tell the little one i was born that way. being a christian, i often use the answer “bc thats how God made me”.. i know this answer doesnt work for everyone, and to each his own, but its my own personal belief. the thought that someone would say you didnt believe in jesus enough as a response to your disability is horrible. i am a very religious person and i cannot imagine someone who SAYS they are a christian saying that. to me, God makes eahc of us beautiful in our own way, and while i dont understand why he made me with 3 fingers, he obviously has a reason for it, and so i am proud to have this birth defect. i teach preschoolers on wednesday nights at my church and i often get asked even by them why i was born without all my fingers. i explain to them bc thats how God made me and i think there is nothing wrong with a child innocent curiosity. and thats all it is.
NO I NEVER MIND IF A CHILD STARES OR HAS QUESTIONS ~~~~~ I ALWAYS MAKE A POINT TO SMILE AND SAY HELLO, ITS IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO SEE WE ARE WARM HUMAN BEINGS ! I AM WILLING TO EXPLAIN MY DISABILITY TO ANY CHILD
I ALSO LET CHILDREN FEEL WITH THERE HANDS AND OFTEN TAKE THEM FOR RIDES IN MY CHAIR ~~~ THEY LOVE TO DRIVE THE POWER CHAIR
I don’t mind if children stare, they are so honest and innocent. I had a little boy once tell his mother “Look mom that man is in a stroller”, while we were in the grocery store, I still laugh when I think about that
Kids? Not at all. I work with kids and I don’t often use my cane in front of them but sometimes I do. It has a stuffed toy elephant on the handle so I often just say “do you like my elephant friend?” If they ask “what’s that” I just say it helps me walk. They notice my insulin pump sometimes and I say “that’s my medicine.” I wish kids and adults would feel more comfortable asking more because if they don’t ask they just jump to their own conclusions.
Adults? Rather, especially adults in the health professions who really should know better. My medical school classmates stared at me for months when I started using a cane but no one said anything. It was like the elephant in the corner. That’s when I went to the toy store and bought the elephant to give them something real to stare at! It is interesting who comments on the elephant. Kids do, and nurses and physical therapists and patients in the elevator and others with physical disabilities in general. But hardly ever other doctors. He’s a good judge of character, that elephant!