kids always say what they want to

For your child when did they come to realize they were perceived as different? For me, I think I first came to know I was different really was when I first entered the mainstream school setting. Don’t get me wrong,

I did note the difference on a physical level from my older sister and the other kids in the neighbourhood but didn’t understand the social implications that I would face in the school setting, my sister and the neighbourhood kids looking back were pretty good at including me in things. I remember the blatantly obvious attempts at inclusion by the adults to have me included but let’s face it: the chair made me different. That being said I always had a friend or two in my mainstream school that saw me as no different than them it truly didn’t matter that I used my chair to get around- they saw beyond all of that, and took the time to get to know me! Many of them are my friends to this day! I wish I knew the way, any way, to relax “the adult world” into that of childlike wonderment.

Kids are blunt

Kids have no qualms about saying what’s on their minds: “kids say the darn’st things” comes to mind. I wish adults were as free in terms of self censorship. Well, at in terms of disability or difference. What is the fear of tactfully gaining knowledge?

If you handle your questions with a manner that allows the person the ability to decide if they feel comfortable answering you. I and most folk I know wouldn’t have a problem if you approached and said I hope you don’t mind but I am carious about your disability. Could you share whatever you feel comfortable with in terms of how your disability impacts you.

That approach I am more apt to be receptive to then those who try to mask their discomfort by giving me these weird sideways glances and being silent it actually makes me wonder if I have left the house with a stain on my shirt or something.

The annoying thing about disability

I don’t know if I simply don’t look my age or if disability plays a part. I, some time ago, went to purchase a crossword lottery ticket the cashier decided that it would be a brilliant idea to address the attendant that happened to be with me, and wouldn’t even make eye contact with me.  she wanted to know if I was of age to purchase the ticket? In the moment I wish that that attendant had had her wits about her enough to say well why you don’t ask her!  Which I would hope would have forced that middle-aged cashier to at the very least make eye contact with me  but alas her discomfort was visible and in part I wish to break those walls down for the able bodied world within in this blog, I haven’t got the first idea as to how though?

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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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4 Responses to kids always say what they want to

  1. J says:

    Hi Laura,

    First off, I love your blog!

    As far as realizing I was “different”, I have 17 years of experience under my belt and have yet to consider myself “different”. I have different struggles and abilities but, I am not different. Sure the chair makes me stick out but, that is a physical thing. Can you really say there is a standard “normal”? People are different because of gender, looks, religon, race whatever. What makes us who we are does not make us different.

    As for changing the way people act, I think it’s all small steps. If peope stare, I ask what the issue is. If people talk to my family/friends/teachers/therapist instead of me, I quite clearly make it known I am perfectly capable of speaking for myself.; I am vocal and din’t put up with it. Admittedly, it is easier said than done.

    • lifeofthedifferentlyabled says:

      Hi J
      Thanks for the comment and officially welcome to my blog! I couldn’t agree more with you and as vocal as they come usually it falls on deaf ears however! I simply meant to express one’s awareness of the chair makes others precieve them as different….

  2. Hanna says:

    I do want to add a comment to J.: great words and great thoughts. But I have to tell you – I am different! I am not in a wheelchair – I am a mom, grandma, wife, friend…… What I am trying to say here is that we are all different – there are no two people who are the same on the face of this Earth and that is a good thing. What Laura and her words bring to me is motivation, it is a belief that everyone will one day realize that we are all different – in a different way and act like it. You are absolutely correct – if someone would stare at me, I would ask if there is a problem or if they would like to say something to me. And all the power to you – do it!You will be doing a favour to all of us! All the best from Mama Hanna

  3. Susan says:

    Hi Laura,
    My son has high functioning autism and can relate to what you say about children..his friends just accept him for who he is but have noticed that as he is getting older (he is 14 now) that things are beginning to change from teenagers who have not known him long. I think the best we can do is make other people aware of all our differences and to be proud of them..it would be a very boring world if we were all the same..
    Enjoying reading your blog :)

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