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To wish I could hang a sign on dd or her wheelchair saying "Yes,I am disabled,please DON'T stare"

48 replies

MavisEnderby · 28/05/2011 23:59

Don't get me wrong,the majority of people are lovely but today AAAARGGGHHH

Lots of starers,and she wasn't even kicking off!

OP posts:
MavisEnderby · 29/05/2011 00:40

I have to say the MAJORITY of people are brilliant,I think I just had a bad day but I dunno.dd IS "Mentally disabled" but she is very sociable.It is probably more me.Maybe thought i had come to terms with it but am having a wibbly day???She is still a unique funny little bod though.The staring from ignorant folk still gets to me,on occasion.Though usually like i say people are lovely.just a day with lots of starers.

OP posts:
madwomanintheattic · 29/05/2011 00:46

dd2 is small, blonde, wears glasses, and drools. when she's in her wheelchair people pat her on the head, speak veeeery loudly and sloooowly and 'aw bless' with that irritating sideways head tilt reserved for pity. and then they speak to me in whispers, as if they are really quiet she might not notice.

oh, and she has an iq of 142.

these days if she catches anyone 'aw bless'ing her, she looks at me as if to say 'what is wrong with these people?'

there are some really cool t-shirts for wheelchair users - can't find my fave site though...

speak to kungfupanda about getting a sign made. Wink i hear she's a pro.

generally i just stick to catching the gawpers eye and smiling really broadly. maybe with a small eyebrow raise as if to say 'everything ok? anything i can help you with?' but lots and lots of eye contact and smiling. through gritted teeth.

fingers crossed dd2 is using her wc less and less, so i think she's going to have a few years without the staring, until her early twenties when everything starts going downhill again!

ChippingIn · 29/05/2011 01:05

Mavis ((HUG))

She's your DD - I'm sure she is lovely, funny & completely delightful!!

I've tried about 10 times to write this in a way that makes sense but this is the best I can come up with.... sometimes people stare because they're rude fuckers.... but a lot of the time I think people 'stare' simply because they're tired and their eyes 'rest' on something - people in wheelchairs and children in buggies are right at that kind of height... I think children in wheelchairs draw your eyes even more because they're 'the right height' and a wheelchair is a bit bulkier so you tend to 'see' it a bit more.... I would try to assume they're sleep staring more than 'nastily' staring - unless they're making it bloody clear they aren't - then you can kick them in the shins!!

When my god-daughter was in a wheelchair after an accident where she suffered very bad brain damage she had one of the chairs with the head support but her head would still loll and she would dribble and shout at people in a random way, attracting a lot of attention at times - it was HARD on one hand you could totally understand people staring and at other times you just wanted to scream/shout/cry/tell them to fuck off... she's out of a wheelchair now but still has some brain damage and can be 'loud' and 'tactless' but looks more 'normal' (though not totally) and this gets us as much attention as the wheelchair ever did - the only difference is we are a bit more immune to it now!

Some days life is just crap :(

fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 29/05/2011 01:26


I have the opposite problem..DD has SN, is 4.7 but can't speak and flaps her hands.

In her brain she is a lot younger. She waves and tries to say hello to everyone on bus, but people ignore her, I assume so as not to stare. Even if they are smiling when they first see her, the minute they realise she has SN they look away.

Makes me :(

Why can't people just act normally around SN.

JamieAgain · 29/05/2011 01:28

Staring is rude and adults should know not to do it to anyone else, especially someone who is a disabled. Sadly some people don't think about the effect of their behaviour on others

JamieAgain · 29/05/2011 01:29

Sorry, random a crept in there. My bad typing.

JarethTheGoblinKing · 29/05/2011 01:38

Because people don't know how to, and are worried that they will offend.. :(

I don't know how to act, and there are so many kinds of SN, that I just smile if I'm smiled at

I recall a horrible incident when DS was about 2yo, there was a man in a wheelchair who I think had CP. He was making noises and hand flapping. DS was mimicking him and copying the noises and it felt so awkward. There was obviously no malice or mocking intended (he was 2!) but I couldn't help but feel that it reflected badly on me... like people would think that this was my opinion.

Incidentally, DS doesn't usually even notice a difference in anybody, race/SN/anything.. he's a kid, why would he. If he wants to stare and ask questions, that's fine.. it was embarrasing when he asked a bald man where his hair had gone though... agg.

ManicPanic · 29/05/2011 02:23

I used to work with a lovely guy who appeareed very disabled - limbs fused in a fixed position, no speech (he would signal yes or no with his eyes) but he was very laid back about staring and comments. He would however find it hilarious when I got pissed off and started lecturing people on his behalf - sorry but the chirstian guy who attempted to 'heal' him while we were out at the pub, well that was just too much for me to take Angry I know he 'meant well' but ffs

I have told dd(5) about people being born different, and how sometimes parts of people may not work as well as they could, being born without limbs, people being different sizes etc. She was fascinated by a lady in the chemist with dwarfism, however apparently the most interesting thing about 'the small lady' was that she was pushing a blue buggy with cupholders, 'isn't it interesting how there are so many different kinds of buggy, mummy?' Grin

My advice, FWIW, is that if you look at someone with a disability or in a wheelchair, remember that your eye is drawn to what is different or unusual, the same as when someone has their hair dyed a bright colour, and if you happen to catch that persons eye, just smile, same as you would with anyone else. But staring at someone is just rude unless they are fit Grin

5DollarShake · 29/05/2011 02:41

The thing is, people look away or switch off, because they have NO idea of the right way to handle it. This thread itself shows that. Once person will say, 'I wish they'd just ask me instead of staring', whereas someone else would prefer they kept their impertinent questions to themselves. Yet another person might usually be open to polite questions, but be having a bad day and snap at the questioner.

You can never be sure of how you will be received, whether you will inadvertently offend, etc, so it is just much easier to switch off from the situation. But even by doing that you offend. :(

Don't get me wrong - I completely sympathise with how frustrating it must be as a parent who has to deal with such behaviour day in, day out. Just explaining what is more than likely going through the head of most lay people when encountering people with SEN.

5DollarShake · 29/05/2011 02:44

Just to add, I personally would never, ever ask the parent what was 'wrong' with their child since I would feel that was dreadfully impertinent. So even if the parent might have be open to being questioned my own social conditioning wouldn't allow me to be so nosy.

madwomanintheattic · 29/05/2011 02:47
JamieAgain · 29/05/2011 11:29

Those of you who are worried about how to act - the very fact you are thinking about it makes me believe you won't be the ones staring or asking impertinent questions. Don't beat yourselves up. And 5Dollar, the OP has talked about ^children6 asking questions - to which she, and I guess most others, would not object to

JsOtherHalf · 29/05/2011 20:29

Racketys have some lovely slogan t shirts for children with a disability:

eg There's no need to stare, I know I'm fabulous.
or I'm yummy and you're staring

Pagwatch · 29/05/2011 20:39

I am rarely offended now. And I think sometimes people with no direct knowledge of this can imagine that the community around disability and sn are massively sensitive.

Actually until you have been in the same room as one of the occasional gawkers it is impossible to understand how obvious and constant and rude they can be.

Last night out at supper with dh and 2 of the dcs, the woman opposite us was staring so hard at ds2 that I actually had to change places with him. After which she still persisted, peering around to try and get a better look......yes woman with husband at the crazy bear , I mean you!

Fucking rude.

Pagwatch · 29/05/2011 20:42

I never mibd children asking ir talking about ds. There never is any malice in it.
Dd has occasionally tugged me to say "mummy, explain to Emma here about the whole autism thing. I have told her his brain just works differently but she isn't getting in"


fanjoforthemammaries7850 · 29/05/2011 20:44

We had that staring today..had to put DD in highchair at soft play so she would sit at table..she likes it and fits, but is 4.7 and looks 5-6 , a couple were staring SO hard.

Then we were in IKEA cafe and DD decided to shout and sing loudly, wouldn't be quiet..everyone was staring..its hard

MedusaIsHavingABadHairDay · 29/05/2011 21:47

My DS2 is a part time wheelchair user and it's very interesting to see how he is treated in and out of it.

Oddly enough I think he is treated with more respect when his disability is 'obvious'.. sat in his chair in the summer with shorts on, splints visible... people at least smile and give us space. When he is in long trousers walking, but talking too loud , moving awkwardly and looking 'different' but not in a way that categorises him (he has a mild physical disability plus learning diffs and autism) people act like he has the plague sometimes! I think he somehow makes people feel somewhat uncomfortable without knowing why:(

Makes me sad as he is the most gentle awkward, loud friendly giant..:)

UrsulaBuffay · 29/05/2011 21:51

Make your own that says 'fuck off twat' :)

Pagwatch · 29/05/2011 21:54

Ds1 wanted to make ds2 a t-shirt that said
" I have autism. What is your fucking problem"


UrsulaBuffay · 29/05/2011 21:57
LadyThumb · 29/05/2011 22:53

My son has Aspergers and, at primary school when he was 5, he had the most awful, nasty, unhelpful, bitchy Head Teacher (tiny primary, only 2 teachers). I sent him to school on the last day with a T-Shirt saying......."How can I soar with eagles when I am surrounded by Tuckin' Furkeys" !!!

BakeliteBelle · 29/05/2011 23:33

Remember, most disabled people and their carers are generally out in public doing ordinary stuff like shopping. We are just getting on with our lives, not obsessing about disability.

The fact that so many people seem to find us fascinating and stare-worthy and embarrassing, is quite tiresome. A glance or a look is natural but the whole staring thing - including from children whose parents do not stop them - is an invasion of my personal space. Don't do it, and try to remind your children it is rude to stare. You could say, 'it makes other people feel horrible if you stare at them, so please don't do it'.

I would also avoid asking questions as not all people appreciate it. If you were out shopping, how would you like it if people came up to you and asked you why you are overweight/ginger/black etc.?

Shoesytwoesy · 29/05/2011 23:34

yanbu, but I have teen who says it
why do people think it is ok, never got that

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