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.