I get a lot of questions about how to talk to kids about facial differences and disability.
Most of the time I say to kids “I was born like this, like you were born with blue/green/brown/black eyes” and they accept that. Sometimes I tell them about my ointment and other times I talk about other things we have in common. I often smile to show I’m not to be scared of.
But what about when a kid asks you – their parent – and you don’t know what to say?
One thing I’m big on is telling the truth. You don’t need to give a complicated explanation or even expect me to explain to your kid. You don’t even have to know the answers.
A participant in my training session asked how she to talk to her young child if they asked about my face. She told me she would tell her child I’ve been sunburnt if they asked about my face, because they wouldn’t understand an honest answer (or an “I don’t know”) because they’re too young.
Don’t tell them lies or push the blame or irresponsibility of letting myself get sunburnt onto me. (There’s so much focus on how getting sunburn is bad!)
Tell them everyone’s face is different.
Teach them young.
That’s the truth. Everyone’s face is different
(And that was the answer I gave her in person.)
I also wrote this post which might be useful. And I’ve got a whole chapter on this in my upcoming book, Say Hello too. Sign up to my newsletter to find out more about the book. And Changing Faces has some great resources too.
And of course this is my own experience and preference, others’ might differ.
Has this post helped you? Will you use it in your workplace or classroom? Please consider buying me a drink to say thanks!