I love kids. They just look right past everything, and accept things for what they are.
Everywhere I go I tend to get a lot of stares, Walmart is the worst for whatever reason. My local mall isn't too bad surprisingly, and I see quite a few others in power and manual chairs. One of my favorite places to be is my rehab hospital, where there are dozens of others much like myself.
But I just love how children ignore differences, or accept them after a momentary glance to take something in in order to understand it before moving on. I will always let kids (usually ones I know) come up and feel my rims, or climb on my chair, I love it! I think it's great for them to learn early on that it's not something to be afraid of. Sometimes parents will literally pull their kids away from me, make a wider loop in a store to purposefully avoid getting close to me in a store. I don't think that's doing them any good, and only makes me feel uncomfortable! So please, don't act like somebody in a chair, or with tubes/lines is a somebody to be afraid of. Some days, if I have the energy, I'd probably prefer that you came up and said hi to me versus staring and staring and staring! Many however would prefer people did not, please be considerate. When somebody is staring me down, it can often last for a really long time! It's uncomfortable and sometimes I'll just look at them back so they realize they are doing it. Other times, I will ignore it, and continue with what I am doing. I really wish everyone knew that this is probably the #1 thing people with a disability hates. It makes me want to go up to whoever is doing it and say "do you know how hard it was for me to get here today? And how much I just want to enjoy this normal task without you staring and reminding me how I stick out like a sore thumb?" But that would be rude on my part! Also, please don't look at me with "that look". you know, the "oh look at that poor girl in the wheelchair oh that's so sad!" one. I'm doing just fine! There's another thing I love about kids, to them I'm getting around like they are, only in a different way. and hey check out the cool wheels! (or crutches. *whack whack* or braces. "ooh velcro! let me pull that off!" Oh, they're so cute!)
I've been blessed with a ton of really great environments, so I don't have to encounter with those awkward moments too often. And when I do I usually go with my ignore tactic despite how annoying I do find it, I'm comfortable with who I am and I don't feel embarrassed by that. My high school, even when I return for functions now 1-2 years later, is still just as comfortable and open a place as it was then. Same with my large church. My friends are cool with whatever I show up hooked up to or have sticking out of me, and I am beyond grateful for them. Many do not have the supports I do! But I've been thinking about this for awhile, and how I hear so many talk about how it bugs them as well, and thought I'd do a post on it. It made me feel better, anyway! I think so many just aren't aware, and that's ok. Hey the more people who don't know what all this stuff is the better! I wish nobody had to know.