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April 03, 2008



i am NOT has disabled as either yourself or "D". with that caveat...
i mentor teens. i jokingly threaten them with my cane. which a) lets them know i am not a pushover (waaaaaaay too important with teens, sigh) b)lets them know they don't have to "take care of me" and c) makes the whole thing very matter-of-fact. (not that violence is GOOD. if they thought i was serious, i would be mortified. but they know i'm not, and its a cool thing to them...)
i have a 3 year old niece and almost 5 year old nephew, and i just tell them i need help to walk, my hip and leg are messed up (and then that turned into that song... you know "the leg bone is connected to the hip bone, the hip bone is connected to the back bone..."). and then the stopped running away trying to get me chase them. which appears to be their favorite game. especially in grocery stores.
kids asking what is wrong with me never bothers me. ADULTS asking, in that patronizing way ("well, whats wrong with you then? why do you deserve my pity?" is what it always sounds like to me), i ignore or tell off, depending on my mood. i have never had an adult ask me with intent to educate. i think i would like it, though


This is interesting and just a bit late for my personal incident, but I am glad to see I did the Lisa-approved thing.

We went to visit a friend of my parents' who has been stuck in a nursing prison (which you educated me all about) for several years due to an aneurism. Anyhow, before we all went, my mother said we should do something to "prepare" Nat for it, because R. doesn't talk like most people do. I told her Nat would have no problem because we have a neighbor who can't talk very well and she and Nat communicate with little gestures and grunts (Nat imitates her, but it comes out well, as Nat has basically learned what different tones and such mean to our neighbor). I told my mom that Nat is used to disability and would be fine.

But really, I was thinking it would be ridiculous to beat Nat to the punch and give her the idea that there was something to fear or disparage about R. before she ever met him. After all, "they" say you should always stick to answering just the questions a kid asks, rather than offering a lot of excess info they may not need and may just complicate things--on all kinds of topics, not just this one.

So she met R. understood him just fine, played with the therapy dog in the common room, charmed a passel of old ladies and flirted with another younger man with severe CP, who also couldn't talk like most people.

It was my mom who turned on her "sick people and young children" voice when talking to R. It wasn't Nat who was freaked out.

And frankly, I don't think it would have been a big deal to her even if she didn't already know our neighbor. I mostly just used that excuse to fend off my mom's bad idea.

Lucía Moreno Velo

great entry. Thank you for writting it.

I was wondering if I could reproduce it in my webpage. We have a small blog.

If you are willing, please contact me privately and we'll talk.



To answer your first question; How do I as a disabled person handle questions from kids? I always try to answer them as matter of fact as possible and try to get the point across that being blind is not a "big deal" and it just means that I do some things a little different. Second question, as a parent of two kids I know that my kids have a good understanding of blindness related challenges, but they have no more or less understanding of other disabilities. I do try to coach my kids to treat people with "unknown disabilities" the way I wish other parents and kids would treat me and my disability. Be respectful, plight ask questions if the person in questions is up to answering, but for sure don't tell the kids something which I don't know or understand.

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