constructive ways to deal with staring

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by teri, May 26, 2000.

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  1. teri

    teri DIS Veteran

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    We had this great thread on this board when it first started, back in March, and it got lost... anyone interested in doing it again?
    How do YOU cope with staring, intrusive comments, rude questions, and other people's poor etiquette? How do you turn the situation around so that you model good coping skills and appropriate behavior? How do you respond in ways that will not be perceived as rude to people who are not being helpful or appropriate?
     
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  3. Wheelsie

    Wheelsie DIS Veteran

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    I was trying to think of some of our really good suggestion threads that got lost in the chage over thanks Teri!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

    Wheelsie /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
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  4. SueOKW

    SueOKW Go Tribe!!!

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    I can't wait to hear some answers - as I need help with looking classy when dealing with class-less people.... (of course, help just looking classy period would be nice too!)

    One thing I do - is smile right at them - I smile all the da** time. Smile Smile Smile... I am of the hope that it teaches them that we are real people, not some kind of a floor show.

    We get a lot of questions as my DS is very very cute - I have found that most of the people who ask us questions have worked with disabled kids before, and just want to connect. He has red hair - I can't tell you the number of senior citizens that rub his head for luck. (Remember it used to happen to Opie all the time in Mayberry, too.)

    I don't know how to handle the 3 year old to 15 year olds. Sometimes they ask questions, sometimes they just stare...

    any advice is welcome!
    Sue
     
  5. Tiger Fan

    Tiger Fan <font color=deeppink>Survivor<br><font color=teal>

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    What a great thread. I lost my hair (completely bald) a few weeks ago after my first chemo treatment. I seldom wear a hat and never a wig (my three year old said she likes me better "plain" - lol). I get lots of stares. I usually just smile right back, I feel most people don't mean to seem rude. I agree that kids sometimes are the hardest. They are honestly just curious in most cases. When I picked up my daughter today, the 4 year old class was lined up next door and one little girl yelled out, "here comes that bald lady". I just smiled and kept walking.
     
  6. Piper

    Piper DIS Veteran

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    A genuine smile works wonders! I teach in an elementary school. My "morning duty" (some of that extra work out of the classroom that we teachers do) is to monitor the front hallway. I am often the first adult that parents and students see when they enter the school. I smile and speak to everyone. If a child asks a question, I answer it as honestly as I can. If I notice one staring I might say something like, "Are you wondering why I have this crutch (forearm crutch)? I use it so I won't fall down." Usually that is all it takes. If they ask me why I fall down, I reply that my muscles don't work as well as they should. That usually does it. Fortunately, I don't have many visable fibromas, but I do have 4 small ones on my hands and several small ones on my neck and face. If someone asks about those, I tell them they are fibromas. Children rarely inquire further.

    With adults, I usually tell them that I have Lupus and Neurofibromatosis and offer to share literature with them. I use it as an opportunity to educate the public on two conditions that many people do not know about.

    What I have found harder to take is that within the past couple of months, two co-workers have told me that they have noticed that I have "deteriorated" or "gotten worse" over the last several years. I know that they are just voicing their concern, but I am trying to ignore that aspect as long as I can!!

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    Piper
     
  7. LindaDVC

    LindaDVC DIS Veteran

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    My husband has been in a w/c for a long time and recently got a service dog. In the past people tried not to stare and we noticed people hushing kids and looking away so they would not be rude!

    Well since Ned arrived, He is a BEAUTIFUL Light Gold- Golden retreiver! We have noted everybody not only looks but they point and tell their kids to look at the pretty dog. We have people approaching and saying hello. They introduce themselves and ask about the dog.
    The Attitude is so POSITIVE and friendly we have been amazed. Lots over pet the dog which Ned loves but it is such a difference you'd be amazed.


    Dan has never been sensitive and we have always used comments to education NICELY /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ! I am an OT and several times people asked what Dan wants to eat at a restaurant-
    I always reply I don't know what do you want and the tip relies on if they give Dan the bill! By the end of the meal most have gotten the "hints" and we have to tip!
    Linda
     
  8. Michelle NY

    Michelle NY Earning My Ears

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    I remember the thread and use to look at it often before our recent trip. I agree that a smile and an honest answer are the best esp. with kids. But if you are refering to all of the genuinely rude people who get annoyed that wheelchairs and families load first on the buses and things like that. A few time I said 1 I did not ask to have a child in a wheelchair if you'd like to change places...or a comment as such .. usually it shut them right up. In life other then Disney I have actually had former freinds complain that it is not fair that a child like my DD gets so much from our county..ie mommy& me and i get respite etc.. And again I say if you'd like to change places let me know...It really shuts them up!!!!
     
  9. teri

    teri DIS Veteran

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    When someone is staring at one (or both) of my kids, it is usually because they really have no idea what it is they are looking at, there is a little movie going on in their head... their little computers are busy searching for the right explanation for what they are seeing, and they don't even realize that they are staring. Or they are imagining themselves in our situation... and their eyeballs are unable to move because their brain is too busy trying to compensate for the feelings they are having.
    We are an adoptive family, and sometimes I find out that people are watching us because they are thinking about adoption and wondering if they could handle it - I certainly wouldn't want to be rude to them or embarrass them.
    And when people make comments about the special services our kids get, I remind them that everybody gets a turn sooner or later, and when it comes their turn they will be glad that services and accomodations are available to everyone. Of course, some people just can't shut up about how unfair things are for the average folks who don't get these perks... HA!
     
  10. SueOKW

    SueOKW Go Tribe!!!

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    The whole family was at a Blockbuster Video store - DS in his Convaid Stroller -

    I heard my husband say to a 3-4 year old - "He can't walk." I assumed she asked him what was wrong with Kevin. Well - don't you know about 1 minute later she came back and gave Kevin a kiss on the cheek! All spontaneous!

    Just wanted to share a smile.
     
  11. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your

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    I so agree that the key to staying a happy positive person is to credit people with good intentions. A stare is not always negative, a ignorant question is not necessarily rude. Of course we are not perfect,and will occasionaly snipe at people....but a smile and simple explanation is what everyone needs...wether or not thats what they asked for !
    My biggest personal weakness is watching Down's kids, I just love those faces !


     
  12. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your

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    I so agree that the key to staying a happy positive person is to credit people with good intentions. A stare is not always negative, a ignorant question is not necessarily rude. Of course we are not perfect,and will occasionaly snipe at people....but a smile and simple explanation is what everyone needs...wether or not thats what they asked for !
    My biggest personal weakness is watching Down's kids, I just love those faces ! I also have to keep myself from staring at people signing, as it is so fun to watch.


     
  13. SueOKW

    SueOKW Go Tribe!!!

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    Teri - your post makes me remember a bittersweet moment in our life. In Jan 1991, DS was diagnosed at 6 months with CP and Infantile Spasms. In March of 1991, DH, DS and I went to a convention in a small town west of Chicago.

    We went to a restaurant for dinner - DS still at this point looked like a fairly regular baby - he was very premie, so still small. I saw an adoptive family - with at least 2 kids, but I was focused on the 9 year old girl in the large w/c type stroller there. She obviously had CP.

    I admit it - I kept staring. But it was the stare of one who was relieved that our future wasn't totally bleak - that people did go out together and have fun, and weren't embarressed etc. So I would catch myself staring because looking at them, I saw my future - and it was soothing to see that it wasn't going to be so terrible after all.

    We still go to that convention - and if I ever see that family again, I am going to explain what I did 10 years ago... So, I guess sometimes staring, (while still extremely rude, and I shouldn't have done it), is some sort of form of therapy. That family gave me hope.

    Sue
     
  14. Kay1

    Kay1 <font color=red>Check out Ricki's hidden Mickey!<b

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    Teri's post reminded me of something, too. I had a friend in south Florida, who used to make " remarks " about all the special attention disabled kids got in school, and said that it took money away from the " normal " kids. The last time I heard from her, her daughter had just been diagnosed with a severe learning disability, and is in special education herself. I just shook my head in amazement. Lord!
    Anyhow, someone posted on that old thread that it helps to wear sunglasses when using the SAP, and I've since tried that and agree
     
  15. teri

    teri DIS Veteran

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    Oh boy, do I get that line. My kid has an inclusion aide and 3 different kinds of therapists, and with their help he is finishing kindergarten working at grade level in the middle reading group in his class. Not bad for an autistic kid with severe communication disorders, eh? But then you remember that he is in the middle reading group, which means that one third of the kids in the class are behind him in skills... you should see some of the looks we get. BUT, there is no question that their lives are less complicated, their days are smoother, their future issues are going to be different from our kids. Not only that, but they have a distinct advantage - they know how to be friends with kids with disabilities. It is a skill. The whole class has benefitted from having extra helpers and therapists, and from learning how to play nicely with kids who are different. Makes the world a better place!
     
  16. slsharp

    slsharp Earning My Ears

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    My grandson is autistic and my daughter has a seizure disorder/anxity/panic disorder. I carry these special little ID cards[business type] that explains their disorders and such. Sort of like an awareness card and hand them to the person who seems overly curious [or rudely stares] and smile and say if you have any questions I will be glad to answer them!!! Also when in public we all wear buttons that say "I Love Someone with Autism" to put a hault on anyone staring during behavior episodes/unusual conversations/stereotypical movements and such or questioning special priviledges my grandson gets. Besides I want to make the world more aware of what autism and epilepsy really is so people WILL understand that my kids are MY kids and are special in all ways. That they are not some weird child to stare at or make rude comments about. Most of the time I consider those people to be the WEIRD ones!!!
    Sandra
     
  17. Wheelsie

    Wheelsie DIS Veteran

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    Just lurking around to see what new ideas we've all come up with about "Ye Ole Stare" as it were LOL /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif these are some great ideas... I really like the business card idea... seems like I remember hearing that one once....but I can't remember where?? Love it tho! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

    Wheelsie /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
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  18. slsharp

    slsharp Earning My Ears

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    Wheelsie and all,
    The card really puts some in their place with "finesse" and brings awareness to others concerning a specific disability. For instance Blake's reads--Hi, my name is Blake and I have Autism. And then there is a brief to the point[as much as possible] information about autism and how it effects him. The wording is if it is him who is speaking to the person reading the card. It ends with telling the person that his behaviors or tantrums are a symptom of his syndrome and not due to the lack of appropriate parenting skills, or something similar to that. Then the other side of the card has 800 numbers & web addresses where they can find out more about autism. I will have to look up his file and find my copy if anyone is interested in the wording. Really, you just tell it like it is with the disorder/disability and how it effects the person so it will fit on cards you can carry with you when needed.
    Tammy's card is awareness for epilepsy. Same way- as if she is telling the person and that way we don't have to worry about her getting upset when people STARE at her when she is having an episode. I just reach in my pocket hand a card and say, "No thank you, I don't need any help right now but I will ask if I do!!"
    Then--- Sometimes we all pretend that everyone but us are "MANNEQUINS" and go about our shopping or activity as if we are the only humans there and we have a good day!!!
    "I Love My KIDS"
    Sandra
     
  19. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    The business card sounds like a great idea, especially for someone with an invisible disability.PSueM in MNBRCo-Moderator of A HREF=http://wdwinfo.infopop.net/OpenTopic/page?q=Ya=frms=40009993f=38009194 TARGET=_blankdisABILITIES/ABRIMG SRC=http://disneyclipart.simplenet.com/Movies/Cinderella/Cinderella/cinderella08.gif
     
  20. momngrandma

    momngrandma Earning My Ears

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    I'm sitting here crying as I read this thread on staring. My ds is 24 years old and severely mentally retarded -- he functions at about an 18 month level. When he was younger, I could handle the staring, and often used those opportunities to share a little bit about Robbie and his problems -- and all his beautiful qualities -- in order to "educate". The last couple years, though, I've found it harder to smile and be nice to the "offenders". I don't say anything, but I've often given a hard stare back -- let them see what it feels like. Reading this, I am reminded, though, that staring is not always just bad manners -- that is often just trying to understand the unknown. I knew that at one time, but had forgotten. Thank you for reminding me -- I will be smiling from here on! I want people to see how truly beautiful Robbie is -- and if his mom looks happy, they'll see it far more easily! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
     
  21. momngrandma

    momngrandma Earning My Ears

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    And BTW, thank you for this site and the support you all share with one another. I just found it tonight, and I can see already that this is just what I needed -- not only for our upcoming trip to WDW, but for everyday life, too.
     
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