As a parent to my 17-year-old daughter and a disability advocate, I have had the opportunity to speak to many types of groups — many of them with an audience of primarily women and/or moms.
I have had a question come up repeatedly from mothers of typically developing children that I feel is so very valuable, and the subject needs to be brought to the surface.
Many women have asked me, “When my child sees a child with a disability or difference, what you suggest I tell them when I notice them staring?”
Tell your typically developing child it’s OK to ask a question, and talk to them about polite, appropriate questions they could ask the child or their parent. Most typical moms are surprised at this advice. They don’t think we would want to be asked questions — but many of us do.
We’d rather take a few minutes to create a teachable moment at the grocery store or park than allow a child to stare and never get their questions answered. Without a chance to learn, their child could become one of the students making fun of our kids at school.
None of us want that. Ask questions, be supportive to the parent, and let your kids see the interaction between you so they know it’s OK to talk about children with disabilities in a positive way.