Thursday, August 19, 2010

Helping Kids Understand Differences

(via a great blog: FWD/Forward (feminists with disabilities), a really great resource for information and fellowship)

I really liked this article, I think it gave some great advice and I would like to add some of my thoughts to it.

  • Remember that the disabled person you or your child is curious about is out doing their thing: shopping, working, whatever. Keeping that in mind, I believe it is okay to say something like, "Hi! My child is curious about your cane/wheelchair/helper animal, and I don't know much about it, myself. Would you mind chatting with us about it for a moment?"
  • No one is obligated to educate you,  we are not required to act as representatives of X population on demand, so be graceful if your request is denied. We are not your "teachable moment."
  • It is also okay to say "I do not know a lot about that, so we can look it up together when we get home."
  • Teach your kids that helper animals are not pets, and should not be treated as such. 
  • Talk directly to the person, not their aid, unless they or the aid indicates otherwise. Sometimes folks will talk to the person pushing my chair about me rather than to me, and that is indescribably rude.
  • Do not use disabled people as an object lesson. Seriously. In a store, I heard an adult tell a child, "You will be in a wheelchair, too,  if you do not learn to look before crossing the street!" Do I need to say that this displays an incredible lack of decorum or social awareness?
Do you have anything else you would like to add, or ask? Feel free to do so in the comments.

I am working on a couple of other posts, and hope to have more up soon. Thanks for stopping by!

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