On the one hand, staring is okay. It’s how babies collect information about their new surroundings and how children and adults assess something that is a bit puzzling or interesting, or possibly frightening. In certain contexts, you expect to be looked at : when you look especially good, if you are performing or giving a speech, or if you breaking some social rule by shouting with someone in a normally quiet environment e.g. a library.
But sometimes staring is not really expected and can be disruptive or plain rude. I remember feeling when I was a child like it was so ridiculous that fully grown adults would stare so hard at my brother when he made a noise,or moved around to me he was communicating to us he was upset, happy, excited or otherwise. Not to state the obvious, but something is different about my brother but it shouldn’t be cause for a long prolonged stare. Which, I don’t know how Elias feels about it, because to his credit he always is doing his own thing. However he too is aware of his differences which can manifest in outbursts of frustration ( best example I have is him looking around the family table and noticing he is the only one with a plastic cup as opposed to glass; it turned into either we all had glass or all had plastic, no negotiations. )
People with disabilities, whether they are “obvious” or “concealed”, have their own objectives, desires and ways of coping and navigating their environment, which is what able bodied people do also – but without interruption or fanfare. It’s reasonable to afford an individual with disabilities the same amount of respect while they go about their day.
Some reasons not to stare are:
1.Staring eventually becomes strange, either you are starting a conversation with the person, offering help , well that basically it.
If you really are so curious then ask what you must. If it really chalks up to staring just because someone is different then stop.
2.On that note, not every time someone expresses their disability by ( this is taken from my experience) shrieking, banging their feet on the floor or stimming doesn’t mean your help is needed. Again what you do to get through your day you do at home 😉
Our world is very focused toward being able bodied and neuro-typical, if someone breaks that norm it can be a shock to some people. However, them acting like themselves is not necessarily an emergency and many individuals disabilities are just carrying on in their own way.
3.Think about how you would feel ! Having a spotlight on you with people staring constantly simply for having a disability is very dehumanizing , whether you feel it is or not.
I think that is the main part. They are loved by someone and are not a spectacle. Also, everyone deserves ( and needs !) to go out in public and socialize. You can try to help breaking stigma by just avoiding a preventable offense.