• English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
Back to Firefly Blog

The Stares of Strangers

The Stares of Strangers

My daughter collapsed the other day and broke her arm.

As expected the hospital asked how it happened.

I repeated the story to the trauma nurse, to the x-ray technician, to the consultant and to the nurse that did the cast.

They all had a puzzled look on their face as I said her muscles and nerves just stop working for no reason, I explained that she is under the specialist children’s hospital and these ‘episodes’ are under investigation.

After reading through the notes they nodded and had sympathy for me, rather than looking at me like I neglected my child.

My daughter then had a cast on her arm for the next 3 weeks.

3 weeks of strangers looking at me with different expressions ranging from sympathy to disgust that my toddler had a broken arm.

I realised that this is going to happen for the rest of my daughter’s life.

She is mentally delayed and she will probably need a wheelchair or at least a walking aid, and yet she looks perfectly healthy.

On a bad day though she can not move at all and she is like a new born again.

Apparently, it takes 5 seconds to make a first impression, and in those 5 seconds the look on your face is going to happen especially if you are judging a stranger.

However, for the stranger that look, especially of disgust, will last so much longer.

I will never be able to get those looks out of my head.

My daughter will always have to deal and cope with these looks and stares and it angers me that she has to deal with these.

My other children have already experienced the negative looks and have started to ask questions about why people stare and talk about their sister.

I have no experience of this negative aspect of human nature and I don’t know what to say to my children.

I try and stay positive and explain that they don’t understand the condition and so stare.

That we don’t have time to explain to every stranger that stares at us the health problems of their sister and so we just have to carry on as normal and ignore them.

That doesn’t erase the memories of the stares and negative comments.

Before having my daughter, I wasn’t very thick skinned, but she has taught me to be strong and unfortunately get a thick skin.

Firefly Blog

Real life stories, issues and experiences of day to day life by special needs parents and
healthcare professionals.

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

Meet Our Blogger

We are just a typical family muddling along our day to day lives. 4 kids, 1 with autism, 1 with an unknown neuromuscular condition

View Rebecca’s Profile

Become a Firefly Blogger

Would you like to write for Firefly? Join our blogger network of parents, therapists and professionals.

Get In Touch

Become a subscriber today

Join over 40,000 subscribers to our weekly newsletter with insightful articles just when you need them.

Join Mailing List

By using our site you agree to our use of cookies. Click here for more info.

Accept & Close

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on

Purchases on £99+

UK Customers only. Subject to credit approval. See terms below

Paypal Credit

Pay now or pay over time with PayPal Credit. Just use PayPal Credit in PayPal checkout.

Subject to credit approval.

Purchases of £99+:

No Interest if paid in full in 4 months on purchases of £99 or more.

  • A minimum monthly payment is required and may or may not pay off the promotional purchase by the end of the 4-month period.
  • No interest will be charged on the purchase if you pay it off in full within 4 months. If you do not, interest will be charged on the purchase from the purchase date at the Purchase APR applicable to your account.
  • Any remaining balance due after the 4-month promotional period or any transactions under £99 will be charged interest at 19.9% p.a. (variable).

Purchases of £98.99 or less:

Buy now and pay over time with PayPal Credit when you spend £98.99 or less.

  • If you pay your balance in full each month by the payment due date that is on your statement, you can avoid paying interest.
  • Or, make minimum monthly payments, or any additional amount of your choosing, until you've paid off your balance according to your standard account terms. Please note, interest charges may apply.
  • We'll send you email reminders when your payments are due. You can also keep track of your account and view your statements online at any time.

About PayPal Credit

  • PayPal Credit is a reusable credit line available on purchases at thousands of stores that accept PayPal. It's also available for purchases on eBay and exclusively at thousands of other online stores. Plus, it comes with the same security and flexibility you trust from PayPal.
  • In order to maintain the 0% offer, you need to keep up monthly repayments and stay within your credit limit. Credit subject to status. Terms and conditions apply. UK residents only.

Please wait...