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Culture

It’s Okay to Ask Questions

As humans, we are naturally curious. If we begin to experience something that we don’t know much about, or if a situation does not feel right to us and we are uncomfortable something, asking questions is a natural response. Throughout childhood, children ask questions all of the time, for every little thing. Some questions may sound like this, “Why is the sky blue? Why do we have to tire shoes?”. And some may sound like this, “Why is that man using a cane to walk? Why does that man use a wheelchair? Why can’t I pet the dog?”. People with disabilities hear about and get asked these questions all of the time, but when a parent who is uncomfortable with the situation is that child asking these questions, they often shut the child down by telling them to be quiet or profusely apologizing to the person in pulling their child away. We ask that you please not do this.

People in the disability community already have a hard time being seen as normal and as a functioning part of society. It is awkward when having to move around stores or having around in public places, such as a park, that may not have been built with accessible features. People with disabilities do not mind answering other people’s questions, in fact, most of us were more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about our disability because it makes us feel included. It is especially heartwarming when children have questions because they ask them in the funniest of ways and their intentions are nothing but innocent. It is incredibly disheartening when parents are seen pulling the child away and shushing them because they are embarrassed that the child drew attention. By pulling the child away and not allowing them to receive an answer to their question, their curiosity slowly begins to dwindle. If a parent shuts down a child’s curiosity at any point in their adolescence about any subject, the curiosity begins to die down. This will negatively affect the child in the future when having to interact with people with disabilities or people that are different than them because they were never allowed to ask questions about it.

It is OKAY to allow a child to be curious about a person or a thing that may be different to them. When children are allowed to ask questions about something, they become more open and accepting to that difference in the future. The idea that something is different from other people will not phase them because they were taught to treat everything as a normal occurrence and just because someone is different than you, it does not mean that you should treat them any differently than you would treat others.

Many people with disabilities understand that when a child asks us a question about the disability that we have, it is not asked with a rude or malicious intent, they are simply curious and want to know why we are different from them and if that person is different, the child then would ask how we do things differently. When a child asks a question, it is not then drawing attention to themselves or the parent, but rather it is the parent who draws attention to the situation when pulling the child away. 

Please do not be afraid to ask questions if curiosity begins to spark. The answer to the question may just surprise you.

Hi! My name is Emilee Beers (my friends call me Em). I am 20 years old from Orange County, California. I am in my third year at Grand Canyon University and I am majoring in Elementary Education with a Special Education endorsement. My hobbies are reading, journaling, singing, Disney and hanging out with little ones! I love hanging with friends and going on adventures. Hope to see you around!
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