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Old 11-06-2012, 04:05 PM   #32
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Re: handling awkward toddler comments in public?

Originally Posted by Kiliki View Post
I often feel terrible when I see kids in wheelchairs or even worse when I see mentally challenged kids.
So, I think sadly, THIS is what contributes to handicapped people being ignored largely. I'd love to be able to tell a mom at the park pushing her disabled child in a wheelchair how awesome and amazing it is that she takes her child out and about, and how it makes my heart feel happy to see that.... but odds are, I'll use some word that will make her angry, and instead of making her day, I'll just make her angry.

I just smile from a distance and keep my mouth shut.
My approach (on my own & with kids) is to generally approach a child with a disability like any other new child; wanting to meet them, play & get to know them better if they'd like that too. I don't go in feeling terrible for them, because I think that is making a lot of assumptions. Instead, aiming just to get to know them has worked pretty well and I don't think I've been offensive. (If you would be offended by my approach, please do let me know so I can get better, too!! )

We've played with other children in wheelchairs, with leg/arm braces, with some other physically obvious differences, and just approached with an opening lines inviting them to play, appropriate to what they may be able to do. When DD1 has been curious, I've taken the approach of "Yes, they are different, and also a lot like you. Let's go meet them, maybe we'll make a new friend" at playgroups, parks, etc. Usually it's just the same difference part then "We can say hello to them, smile & wave" if it's at a grocery store or some place less open to meeting friends - sometimes it leads to conversation, sometimes just a wave, sometimes it isn't noticed or may be ignored (but that goes with the cashiers & old ladies we smile & wave to, as well).

I grew up with some exposure but no disabled children of my own (parents fostered babies with suspected or confirmed physical &/or mental disabilities & I volunteered with overnight Easter Seals camps as a teen), so I may have a different perspective, but I do feel comfortable around children & adults with disabilities.

I do enjoy the variety of children & board books there are that help bring these differences up so you can see & talk about it at home, too. I'm guessing some videos can help with advanced exposure, too.
A (usually) happy wife mama to my BOGO girls, DD1 July 2010 and DD2 Dec 2011.

Last edited by MsGiggles; 11-06-2012 at 04:10 PM. Reason: grammar, etc
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