|SPEAK! I will respond...|
When you are out and about and see a person with a disability do you assume that because they look a little different, they use a wheelchair, they are non-verbal or are blind, they are not worth the effort of a simple "hey"? Do you stare? Does your children stare? Do you tell them that it is okay to speak to that person? Do you speak yourself? When you see a person with special needs, do you see the person or the disability?
You know there's a saying that a smile can brightens someone's day? A simple hello can do the same. I often think about a song from "Yo Gabba Gabba" that says something like "no one wants to be left out, everyone wants to be included..." That is so very true! That is also the case for families, work, school, and community. No one wants to be left out, or treated like they don't exist.
I believe that children reflect their home surroundings before anything or any other influence. Personalities come early! I try to speak to everyone I come into contact with. Verbal or just a head nod or smile. It could possibly be what someone is needing at that time.
Speak to Kerstin, she acknowledges everyone she comes into contact with. She has not hearing or vision problems. Ask her her name...we're working on getting her to hold a conversation with her Dynavox, until then, "Mommy" will tell you for her! Talk to her! She looks UP for yes, she looks away for no and sometimes manages to verbalize or shake her head no. Speak to her if nothing else. She is a person too.
Hey, Hi, Hello, Hola, Ni hao, Bonjour, How's it going? or a simple kiss on the hand. My 1 year old niece is adament about kissing Kerstin's hand every single time she sees her. Now that she is talking she comes over and is speaking to Kerstin before she walks into our home, she makes her way to Kerstin and kisses her hand.
She seems to know that Kerstin can't verbally speak to her, but the smile says it all without a word being uttered. It's love! It's an act of kindness. Tell others, disability does NOT matter! It's okay to say "Hi"!
"A person's a person, no matter how small." ~Dr. Suess