Think before you speak

Ms. Charlene Bullard writes a blog called Faith to Raise Nate. We have been discussing inappropriate comments made by people in regards to our family members with special needs. Charlene’s son Nate is deaf/blind with Autism and of course most of you have met my brother Stephen. The catalyst for her posts was my comment to her about people asking me if my brother Stephen is like the character in the Rain Man movie.  Please go to the above links for more information. The objective of Charlene’s posts is to educate people to not make assumptions about folks with special needs.

Disabled does not mean that person is living a half-life or needs or wants your pity. 


Below is my comment to Charlene regarding Part Two of the Topic with some edits I made for this post.

This post is on point!! Excellent words of wisdom. As I read your advice I thought of Helen Keller who was deaf/blind and went on to live an extraordinary life.

In my experience I can understand when children ask questions because they are truly curious and want to understand. As for adults they are just plain rude and choose to be that way.

I recall an incident years ago in the museum galleries when a dwarf lady was viewing a painting and a little girl saw her. The little girl knew that the dwarf woman was not a child but obviously she was puzzled as to why and how an adult could be that short. So naturally she went over to the dwarf lady and just stared at her. You know when eyes are on you. So the dwarf woman turned around and at that point the little girl ran off. The Dwarf woman just smiled. She probably goes through this every day.

Seeing that reminded me of when I was 11 and my Dad and Aunt took us on a family vacation on Montreal, Canada back in 1970. During our vacation we met a dwarf woman who was giving tours of her parents house. Her parents were both dwarfs and the house was built to scale meaning everything was lowered to their level. Having never seen or met a dwarf before I desperately wanted to ask her why she was so short however my Dad gave me that look. The look that silently said “You’d better not say anything to embarrass me or be rude. I held my tongue. Just like back in those days dwarfs were called midgets which is a derogatory term. Later on as an adult I learned that most dwarfs or Little People have a condition called Hypochondroplasia a form of short-limbed dwarfism.

On the tour I did learn that the dwarf lady was married to a normal sized man. As for their children I never found out that information but I was taught as a child not to make fun of people and not to ask rude questions that are none of your business in the first place.  After all growing up I did not like it when the other kids in the neighborhood made fun of my brother Stephen.

Several years ago the Little People of America had a convention in New York City. Museums were on their itinerary and I saw many Little People enjoying the artwork at my museum workplace.

Below is a photo taken by my Dad after our tour. You can see me, Stephen, our Aunt Helen and our gracious host.




15 thoughts on “Think before you speak

  1. Thank you so much for the comment and for being the catalyst to this two day Part 1 and Part 2 series. Great picture and post. I like your father’s response ““You’d better not say anything to embarrass me or be rude.” Sounds familiar. Love the picture. Wow!! Look at your brother.

    1. My parents Edward and Mable did not play!! My Dad was not big on spankings but his lectures almost made you wish for the spanking!! As for Mom yes child it was Ass Whupping time for me many a day!! LOL!! Both Stephen and I had a strict but Loving upbringing. At that time in 1970 I was 11 and Stephen was 9. That was a fun family vacation trip!! One of these days I will visit Canada again for vacation. Beautiful country.

  2. On of the co-workers of a client in our business center is a growth-restricted. But it is so cool because no one cares! He is treated completely normal

      1. In the past the term midget was used but now nobody uses that term. In the USA we use dwarf. If you said growth restricted here people would not know whether you meant the person was height challenged or had an intellectually disability. Dwarfism is the medical term.

      2. Life long learning. I’ve encountered many dwarf visitors to the museum and if they ask a question I answer and treat them the same as all the other visitors. When I worked days one of my goals was to make sure that all museum visitors were comfortable in the galleries.

      3. Obviously you can’t help but see the difference but I would never treat that person like a child or imagine that they are less intelligent. I’ve learned patience and am happy to extend myself to folks having difficulty navigating the museum especially those in wheelchairs, deaf, visually challenged and other types of disabilities.

      4. This is true. American society glories those that are young, beautiful, whole and healthy. You don’t see people with deformities, missing limbs, facial disfigurement, burn victims, etc… gracing magazines, the Web (WWW), TV or movies. Nor once you get to be a certain age will you be celebrated. Especially for women. After 50 you disappear. Fade away. There is a bias towards beauty, athletic bodies and perfection.

      5. No, you only see them when it helps the sales of the magazine but in a way that doesn’t support them but actually says how far away from “normality” they are! But what is normal???

      6. Amen My SiStar!! I agree with you 100%!! However the good news is that more disabled or differently-abled folks now advocate for themselves, have their own projects and even photo shoots. With technology and the Internet breakthrough is happening!!

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