your opinion or how to answer ? from my kids regarding disablities and "differences"

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by Spinning, Mar 11, 2001.

  1. Spinning

    Spinning <font color=deeppink>Give me a chunk of something

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    Hi, didn't know this board was here. GREAT! anyway here is my questions. First off I have worked the past 15 years as a physical therapist assistant mainly with our special needs population. So I am very familar with different disabilities, etc...
    I feel very strongly when my daughter ask a question about some one I should answer it then and there not hush her up and try to pretend I didn't hear. At this point she is never rude. She is only 5. At times I wish I could refer her directly to the person. Example, we were at City walk making dinner ressies and the lady had an amputated arm. I didn't even notice, but DD did and asked and wanted me to look. I just said to her Rachel, as I have told you before all of us are created different. I really didn't know what to say, I didnt' want to say due to an accident don't think she is ready for that. But I really wanted to walk back to the ressie place and ask the girl how she would have liked me to handle it. I know people with disablities do get stares, I am guilty of it too but it usually because I find their equipment neat, different areas use different stuff. So what is your view point with children who are curious by nature and generally want to know?

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  3. teri

    teri DIS Veteran

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  4. Michigan

    Michigan Mom of the Rolling Crew

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    I know that when someone tells their child that my oldest DD is in a wheelchair because she broke her leg that really bugs her (she's 11). She doesn't mind when someone asks her why she needs a wheelchair she is fine telling them she has Spina Bifida and her legs don't work. On the other hand she has had more then one person both child and adult ask her what's wrong with you to which she replies nothing what's wrong with you.

    She is just now starting to get bothered by people who stare especially the ones that turn around and almost walk backwards so they can get a good look. This was a real problem on our last trip to WDW in AK. Everywhere we went people turned around. I told her probably because people see both her and her sister (age 3) in wheelchairs they probably think they were in a car accident.

    I'm sure when most people see our own Wheelsie they assume that she uses a wheelchair because she is missing part of one leg when in fact she has always used a wheelchair because she to has Spina Bifida and didn't lose her leg until she was older.

    I often think to myself isn't it ashame that our Country needed a law to tell people how someone with a disability should be treated.
     
  5. Puffy2

    Puffy2 DIS Veteran

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    Personally , I think it is best to explain to our children that people are different and some people need a little more assistance (in the way of a cane or wheelchair , hearing aid, etc...) to enjoy all the things that everyone else does. And that these people may need the assistance because of a birth defect or accident or illness.
    I wouldn't put a stranger on the spot by refering the question to them - when my friend and I went to Disney and we used a scooter (she has lupus) we had a blast and this was the first time in a long time for her to have fun - a question about the scooter wouldn't have been the end of the world for her, but it would draw attention again to her illness (something we were trying to forget for a few days).
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    My older dd was not immune to asking why other people used wheelchairs, canes, etc. just because her sister used a wheelchair. When she was little, she just thought all people in wheelchairs had CP because that's why her sister uses one. I always just answered her simply, "I need glasses to see and some people need wheelchairs to get around." We didn't speculate on why that person in particular needed a wheelchair, but I did let her know there were many reasons why people use wheelchairs.
    I am sometimes guilty of staring myself, especially at WDW. If you catch me staring, I'm looking at your equipment. I've seen some pretty neat stuff at WDW that isn't usually seen here at home.‡

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
     
  7. alasknmom

    alasknmom Earning My Ears

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    I have extremely short arms and one halloween when I was feeling kinda evil *lol* I told the girl it was my halloween costume "do ya like it??? did I do a good job???"
    My mom couldnt believe I said this and the poor kid was like "wow!! you are amazing". I did explain it to her tho :D

    Rachel in Alaska
    Mom to Joey 9
    Taking him to Disney for the first time March 23, 2001
     
  8. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    That is funny, alaskamom.

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
     
  9. Wheelsie

    Wheelsie DIS Veteran

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    thanks Sue for helping me esge my way into this topic...I was pleased you did :)

    Yes I do have Spina Bifida and yes I do have only one leg (killer memory Sue LOL) But I have been in this darn contraption all my life...and have only been an amputee the past 4-5 yrs....Im bout to turn 27 in a week...Geez it creeps up on ya fast don't it? LOL

    I know I made note of this item in a post and I can't find it....but I once said to someone who'd posted not too long after my having a HORRIBLE handi incident....and I beg it of you now...


    Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you punish your child for making note of a handi individual...

    I know you, yourself probably wouldnt as you work with the community...

    But I tell you this did happen to me... One day as I was going into Jack in the Box for lunch a young girl no more than 5 asked her mommy why was I in that? She didnt know what to call it and I understood....her "Mother" slapped her with me watching...altho she didnt know I saw out of the corner of my eye.....I was completely devistated as I am talking about it many months later....

    That Little girl didnt deserve to be slapped for being curious.....I could see he mother getting upset if she had made fun..heck Id have wanted to run over her (kidding)..... but for her to have slapped her... NO DICE!!!!!!!

    So basically what Im asking of you... is let your child be curious...let your child either ask the questions of you...or even give them permission to walk up to us and ask....You'd be suprised how receptive I can be to a respectful and polite inquiry from a child or even an adult for that matter! :)

    Just don't harm your child in the name of embarassment... I still well up with tears thinking of how that child must have felt and how she might have some resentment toward those she meets because of the incident...

    Thank you

    *gets down from her specially ramped soapbox*

    Wheelsie Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
    and
    DisneyTips
    wheelsie@mail.wdwinfo.com

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  10. Spinning

    Spinning <font color=deeppink>Give me a chunk of something

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    Thanks everyone for your thoughts and info! Wheelsie I couldn't and would ever punish my child for asking a question. That lady had some serious problems. I would say fear too. Shame..Life offers us so many learning lesson of acceptance and so many people refuse to learn and open their eyes. I think my main problem is I am so "matter of fact" about disabilites that sometimes I worry it may not sound right when I talk to my daughter. I try very much to explain but I think it is when I am not sure of the reason why or if I know the reason but it is the harsh reality I find hard. Such as a spinal cord injury or brain injury. Even behavor problems Social/emotional problems. Does that make sense? Use of a wheel chair, crutches etc that isn't as hard. And she can accept my answers. I guess you just take it as the questions come and hope to raise loving and caring children.
    Again thanks everyone. I got tons of info from my post and the others on staring!

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  11. Wheelsie

    Wheelsie DIS Veteran

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    Im sure if you take great care of your children...as Im sure you do... and DO take each question as it happens not really worrying or anticipating the next all will be well! :) If your child meets people in malls let them walk up and ask if they feel the urge..dont MAKE them...just let them :) It will make everyone happy and more comfortable in the long run :)

    Wheelsie Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
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    DisneyTips
    wheelsie@mail.wdwinfo.com

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  12. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    I think you've got it right, Spinning. You answer your kids questions as they come up. Sometimes you have to say "I don't know". One of my older DD's favorite sayings when she was about 2 and 1/2 was "We don't kn ow those things." If we saw someone in a wheelchair and she wanted to know what happened to the person, I would say something like "Some people have accidents so their legs don't work the way yours do and some people are born that way."

    I always keep in mind the story of the little child who asked mom "Where did I come from?" Mom took a deep breath and went into a long explanation of conception and birth. Then she asked the child if he had any questions. He asked again "Where did I come from?" and the mom asked him what part he didn't understand. The boy said that his friend came from Ohio and he wanted to know where HE came from.

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
     
  13. going2wdw

    going2wdw Praying for peace

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    I spent last week with my brothers family. Their 5yo DS has CP & microneuplisy (sp) and is very disabled. He functions at about 3 months mentally & physically. Before our trip I told my 9yo & 6yo DDs that he was like a baby and was only able to do things like their new baby cousin who is 2 months old. My 6yo DD asked my SIL about mid-week why since he was 5 he couldn't walk or talk and SIL simply told her he was handicapped because of the CP & microneuplisy and couldn't do those things and probably will never be able to.

    My SIL made the comment to me that she would rather people ask questions than just stare. I'm sure not everyone feels that way but I imagine most would rather a honest open question.

    I'm hoping they will be able to go to WDW with us someday and I don't know if he will make the trip or remain at home with a babysitter. If he does I know we'll be here for help planning how to make his days as comfortable as possible.

    Janette
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  14. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    You sound like a good sister, goingtowdw. Your post brought up another good point: kids will keep asking the same questions over and over again. It's almost like they are checking to see if the answer is different if they ask again.
    I would rather people ask about my dd too. If they ask her, I explain that she can underatnd very well, but she can't use her mouth to talk with them. If they ask me, I will usually change their question into one she can answer herself.

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
     
  15. Wheelsie

    Wheelsie DIS Veteran

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    I gotta second this one!! :)

    Children ask me all the time..."Lady what happened to your leg??" (as some of you may know amputaion from malpractice) I answer them that "the Dr took it....."some then say "but why??" I smile cutely as I never have figured how to answer this one with a non joking response, and say..."I think the Dr needed it a little more than I did" :D I know its corny but it seems to make them feel better :) If anyone has any suggestions how I can answer this with a NON joking answer, so that the real reason can be understood by the lil tykes, Id appreciate some input LOL :)

    Wheelsie Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
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  16. ElaineM43

    ElaineM43 Earning My Ears

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    Along with varied other things I've done in my life, I also have worked with children extensively. It's a normal thing for them to be curious and I will always welcome anybody approaching me to talk about the problems I have and what equipment I have to use.

    I have a 5 year old Grandaughter who, for now, is satisfied with the definition of Grammy having "owwies" in her bones. She knows I'm different in mobility then other people but, also knows that I'm not in pain all the time and the Doctor takes good care of me. There will be a time in the near future that she will ask more and then we will get into simplified discussions of osteoporosis and exactly what caused this in me so she doesn't think this is something she can expect also (at least we hope not as there are medications now to help prevent this happening).

    I have always welcomed children to come up to me and if I happen to be on a cane that day, I ask if they would like to hold it. If I'm on crutches, they can touch them, on a scooter...a short ride with Mom or Dad's permission. It takes the mystery out of these things and since a child relies on touch to calm their fears AND curiousity most of the time, no harm done and everybody goes away with a warm feeling.

    Elaine
    When you wish upon a star...
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  17. SueM in MN

    SueM in MN combining the teacups with a roller coaster Moderator

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    LOL at your answer Wheelsie. That is so funny. Seriously, I can't think of another good answer for you to give. I guess if it seems to satisfy the kids and not upset them, it's a good answer.
    Kids also assume that whatever they see might happen to them. I am missing both of the toenails on my big toes. My oldest dd was used to seeing my toes that way and it was an object of curiousity for her to show her friends when she was little. She didn't know what happened to my toenanils, but she sort of figured that most moms lost theirs. She knew dads didn't, since her dad still had his. We had quite a discussion one day when she finally asked me how old you had to be before your toenails came off. I have to say she looked kind of relieved to know hers wouldn't just fall off one day byb themselves.ø

    SueM in MN
    Co-Moderator of disABILITIES
     
  18. mhopset

    mhopset Seth's Dad

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    I would much rather someone come up to me and ask why I ride a scooter, than stare or make comments like "I wish I had one of those to ride around on all day".

    I think we need to take on the innocense of children. If you wonder why, just ask, then you won't wonder anymore.
     
  19. Nanajo1

    Nanajo1 DIS Veteran

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    When I am in my power chair grocery shopping etc and I see a child eyeing my wheels I smile at her and ask the mother/dad if I can talk with her. I say have you ever seen an elecric wheelchair? They usually say "No" I say my legs are not very strong and this helps me get aroung easier. I would rather be walking but I can't so this wheelchair is a big help for me so I can do my shopping and other errands. That usually satisfies them. I hope that being proactive helps with the understanding the disabled doesn't mean unable or unapprochable.

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  20. D L and K's Mom

    D L and K's Mom <font color=blue>D, L and now baby Kennedy's mom!<

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    After reading all of your stories and comments I was reminded of a little incident that happened last month to us. As a little bit of backround my 11 year old son David had a stroke when he was very very young. David has no real visible signs (Except his face droops a little tiny bit and he sometimes has to use a wheelchair if he is having a day of seizures)David does however have a lot of other problems as a result of the stroke that are not visible....he can't talk or communicate, he wears diapers and he has alot of autistic tendencies and he likes to chew on chew toys to calm himself. Ok, now that you have that, on with the story. We were at the dentists office waiting for our turn, David was making his happy noises (gleefully giggling and laughing) he was also happily rocking back and forth as he likes to do chewing on a chew toy. I heard the little boy next to me ( approx 6) ask his mom,"What is wrong with him". His mom proceeded to "SHUSH" him. A few minutes later he asked again and was "SHUSHED" and told to be quiet. At this time I leaned over to the mom who was looking very uncomfortable and said ,"It's Ok". I proceeded to explain that David had had a stroke and explained what that meant and how now David is "Special". The litle boy looked at me and said ,"Ya but what is wrong with him". I was bewildered and replied,"I am sorry I don't know what you mean" He replied, "What's wrong with him doesn't he know this is the DENTISTS." He just really wanted to know how anyone could be so happy waiting for the dentists I just started to laugh and laugh....Out of the mouths of babes huh?????
     
  21. teri

    teri DIS Veteran

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    hehehehe!!! :)
     

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