Being exposed to kids with differences — The Bump

Being exposed to kids with differences

Gisele is a very empathetic child- she always has been- however lately she has really been picking up and noticing differences with kids- on her own.

She has a friend that has to wear glasses/eye patch. Some times she has a hard time with her balance (understandably) and Gisele always helps her by holding her hand when they walk.

The other day we were at the playground and a little boy in a wheel chair came up the ramp to the play structure. She kinda hung back for a second, watched quietly and then walked up to him and introduced herself and they played for a little bit.

Later in the car, I said to her- that was nice you made a new friend. And she said, 'mom, I am lucky I can walk- I felt bad he couldn't go down the slide- but at least we could play tic tac toe together'

I was a little surprised by that and kinda fumbled around for what the right thing was to say to a 3yr old. - kinda broke my heart a little.

I pretty much said, 'yeah- I am glad you got to play tic tac toe with him- that is a fun game.

And she accepted that and asked if we could stop for icecream. And that was that.


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Re: Being exposed to kids with differences

  • Honestly, this made me choke up a little bit. But I'm having that kind of day.

    As the parent of a child who is autistic, I hope that my DD1 encounters a lot of children who are so compassionate. Even about the differences they can't see, and that make my child a challenge to be friends with or play with.

    I hope that other parents make the effort to teach compassion and inclusion, rather than allowing their child to call mine weird or stupid -- or thinking that about her themselves, when they have no idea what the real situation is. She is neither. 

    I know that's a lot to hope for, and casual cruelty and ignorance is probably going to be more common. We've already run into it. But please, know that however good it made that little boy feel to have your daughter play with him so nicely, it probably made his mom or dad feel even more happy than it made him. 


    DD1, 1/5/2008 ~~~ DD2, 3/17/2010
  • Your daughter is so sweet!  I think your response was fine.  She figured things out on her own so there wasn't really anything for you to say.  

    Keep up the good work - more kids need to learn compassion.  And they learn that by seeing it in action.



    My twins are 5! My baby is 3!

    DS#2 - Allergic to Cashew, Pistachio, Kiwi

    DS#3 - Allergic to Milk, Egg, Peanut, Tree Nuts and Sesame

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  • I think you are raisng a really great child.

    My son is in a special program and there are a wide variety of children in that program.  I find it a blessing that at such a young age he has friends who have a wide range of ability.  We went and said hi to his teacher yesterday and we saw there will be a deaf girl in his class.  Harmon is so excited.  Mommy I get to talk with her with my hands (we sign a lot at home b/c ASL is a language I'm fluent in)!!!

    Mom to Harmon 1/17/08 and twins Rachel & Callum 8/28/09 Photobucket 29o0v13.jpg
  • I totally agree- compassion is definitely something all people (adults included) need to take a little time to 'take in' and learn.

    There was something SO innocent with the playground scene- yet SO profound- I really wish it could always remain innocent to her and that she never sees kids negatively (in any way) for differences.

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  • What a great story. I want to hug your LO.

    DS's best friend has an eye patch. DS has a lot of speech issues. Both things never come up between the two of them. They are just friends. And I love that.

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  • What a great story!  I am impressed by her thoughts on the situation.  We were just talking about this on the playground today.  This is the age when kids are starting to notice differences....anything and everything.  Teachable moments left and right, but some of them are hard to explain. 
    O 10.08 & MJ 6.10
  • What a great job you are doing!!!

    My son is SN and I hope he will encounter kids like yours when he is in school!  : )

  • Another SN mom here wishing there were more of your DD's around! My son goes to an inclusive SN preschool- about 3 SN kids and 10 typical kids to a class. DS is one of 3 autistic preschoolers in his class. On the way out the door the other day DS turned to another little boy leaving and said "Bye Bye Billy!" Billy said "Bye DS" and then turned to his Dad and said "That's DS- he's one of the kids in our class who doesn't know anything." The Dad kinda fumbled and didn't say anything- I quickly walked away- it wasn't really the kid's fault, he was just stating it matter-of-factly, and I did feel bad because the Dad was probably totally taken off guard. But it made me ache :( I think you handled it really well with your daughter- not a lot of pity, just an acknowledgment of a difference but look at the bright side!

  • Oh Miranda-- That breaks my heart.

    I just know how I am with being a mom and wanting to protect my kids from things- I couldn't even begin to imagine how parents of SN children feel practically every second. My hats off to all SN parents-

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  • What a sweet girl you have :)  Whenever my kids notice a 'difference' I always acknowledge that but then point out how they are really the same.  Like "Mom, that kid is in a wheelchair." and I'll reply with "Yes, isn't that cool that there is a way he can get around?  I'll bet there's lots of games he can play in that, just like you guys like to play games"  My goal is to help my kids understand that even if someone has a difference, we're all the same inside.  It sounded like you handled that perfectly- and have done so prior to this point because of the way she reacted to the situation!
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