Do you ever find yourself out and bought, doing whatever task you are doing, when you notice someone who isn’t behaving quite like everyone else? To say that these incidences don’t happen or that you don’t notice these different individuals would be, I hate to say it but… a lie.
In my experience, most generally stare and then look away quickly so that no one notices that they noticed. Doesn’t that just sound silly? When I am out with a client of mine or my brother and they are making all kinds of different noises I feel that it is human nature and curiosity to stare and question what’s going on. Some may disagree, but honestly I think that it is good to stare. That behavior means that you are recognizing that not everyone is the same and that there are differences between us.
With that said, in my opinion, it is not okay to taunt, humiliate, ridicule, point, laugh at, or scowl at a person of disability who is not conducting themselves in a manner in which you deem appropriate. They are not you, they do not think in the same way you do, and more often than not they cannot help their behavior. Be accepting and understanding, that’s all I would ever ask of anyone.
Let me tell you a story.
One of my best friends has a younger brother with Autism as well, can you guess what our connection is? Any ways, his mother was out shopping with his younger brother Alex. Alex was talking to his mother about what he wanted from the store when two teenage boys started to point and mock him for how he was talking and behaving. My friends mother did the greatest thing I have ever heard of. She turned to the boys slowly and then began to speak in a loud and firm matter, “Do you like making fun of special needs kids?!” After that the store went quiet, people turned around to look, and the boys’ faces turned red and then ran out of the store.
These kinds of stories just warm my heart, in a weird way I know. You see I hate it when people don’t understand that these people with disabilities are just people. They may not go about living in the same way that you do but that just makes them unique. They are people deserving of the same respect that you would give to anyone else. And with this particular story, I find it so rewarding that she stood up for her son and called those boys out. Better yet, that they responded to her actions so severely; I would be surprised to hear that they ever made fun of someone so coldly again.
Let’s share our stories! And increase our understanding! 🙂