SMA News Forums Forums Our Community Adults ​With​ ​SMA Columnist Writes About Children’s Curiosity Towards Disability

  • Columnist Writes About Children’s Curiosity Towards Disability

    Posted by alyssa-silva on September 13, 2021 at 11:00 am

    Hey all! I recently had a positive interaction with a child out in public which, sadly, doesn’t happen too often. I think we can all collectively agree that children (and sometimes even adults) are quick to stare at those of us that are wheelchair users. But, more often than not, these stares are met with parents reprimanding them, hurrying them out of sight, or even consoling them if they feel scared.

    In my latest column, I wrote about the positive and negative experiences I’ve had with children, how this most recent time was a brief, yet productive, interaction for both of us, and— in my experience— what it takes to foster more acceptance in our little ones. Do you have any advice when it comes to breaking down barriers with children?

    alyssa-silva replied 2 years, 7 months ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • blake-watson

    September 13, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    100% letting kids ask their questions is the way to go. If the parents make them feel bad about it then that’s just a negative feeling they are going to associate with people with disabilities.

    I once had this conversation with a young boy he was fascinated by my wearing socks.

    “You don’t wear shoes?”

    “I can’t find any that fit.”

    “So you just ride around in that thing all day?” pointing at wheelchair


    Pretty sure he thought I was in a wheelchair because I couldn’t find any good shoes lol. I didn’t really have time to correct him but at least we had a conversation.

  • alyssa-silva

    September 14, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Hahaha that is so sweet. My nephew (who is 4) thinks I can’t walk because I have “boo-boo’s” on my feet. I love hearing what kids come up with as to why we’re disabled.

  • deann-r

    September 14, 2021 at 10:03 am

    First of all, sounds like a fun outing. I also appreciate when parents foster acceptance by allowing their kids to ask questions. Typically I just say my muscles aren’t strong like theirs so I can’t walk. Then try to turn the focus on them. My last interaction involved a snake slithering under my wheelchair so needless to say my wheelchair wasn’t the focus.

  • alyssa-silva

    September 15, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Yikes, reading that last sentence gave me shivers. I accidentally ran over a dead snake the other day and realized that— dead or alive— snakes freak me out.

Log in to reply.