When I was a kid, I would get home from school and watch TVO Kids. That tradition has sort of carried on, to my children. They love the dinosaur shows, Arthur, The Magic School Bus, Finding Stuff Out, The Reading Rangers, and Odd Squad.
I love TVO Kids. I love that they now have a host interview kids with disabilities. I felt inspired to write this post after watching a segment of two little boys discussing their disability with the host, Mark.
During the end of the segment, Mark completes a challenge with the kids and then typically asks them if they mind if it when other people ask questions about their differences.
The older boy nailed it with his answer about how it’s only okay to ask if it’s not going to offend them, and it’s better to ask “when I know them better.”
I couldn’t help but feel an alliance with this child, this child who knows the difference between questions of good intent and questions of cruel intent, because there is a difference. People with disabilities know this difference. We are well versed in reading between the lines and all but feeling the intent of the asker.
Example: the woman who pointed and laughed at my toes. Those “questions” and “assessments” did not come from a good place. They did not get wrapped in empathy and compassion. They were cruel words, careless words.
However, a friend that asks me how I’m doing (in regards to my health), that’s different. That comes from a good place. Even the new friends who are just curious.
I dislike discussing my MHE with strangers, because I don’t feel that every single person who happens to gaze upon my body is entilted to question me on it’s appearance. “Why do you have scars” is about as ridiculous as “why do you have a head”. The scars are a part of my body, they just are. Yes, there’s a reason for them…but just because you saw them, doesn’t mean that I have to tell you about them. That’s a very personal thing for me to tell you.
I prefer it when somebody takes the time to get to know me as a person first. It sucks when people only see you for one thing – your disability. It is so much better when someone makes you feel as if they care about your WHOLE story, not just the parts that make you different from other people.
So…Bravo, TVO Kids…for highlighting beautiful children with different abilities. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart on behalf of myself and my children, who both have Multiple Hereditary Exostoses.