Monday, May 14, 2012
The "Do Not Say" List
People often tell me they are afraid to say anything to people with disabilities or parents with disabled children because they either don't know what to say or are deathly afraid of saying the wrong thing. I always say, it's pretty hard to go wrong with "Hello."
Yes, certainly I have had strangers say some weird things to us, and I've written about them here many times. (see Strangers tab).
If you see a woman struggling with a large wheelchair in the pediatric specialties clinic it is probably wiser NOT to start a conversation with: Is that your granddaughter?
It's just a non starter, conversation wise.
In defense of this otherwise very kind man,(or perhaps in my own defense) he was younger than me and he WAS there with his grandson.
Much better to err on the side of the compliment. Asking "is that your daughter" to a grandma will only win you points. However asking "is that your granddaughter" to the mom will get you nowhere fast. You will have played and lost Final Jeopardy.
When I told Steve the story, I noted that pickup lines have really changed over the years.