It’s in the eyes.
Did you know that you cannot always tell if a person has a disability or disorder just by looking at them? Sometimes the person you think is behaving inappropriately (be it a child or an adult), may have an underlying cause that you cannot see.
Often times someone with a disability or disorder may look “normal” so we expect them to act “normal.” (I know… define “normal” – grin, but you know what I mean.) Based on looks we expect people to act a certain way, and when they act in a way we (or society) has deemed “inappropriate” we start to judge or criticize them (or their family members) harshly, because there is (seemingly) no reason for that person to be behaving that way.
So, how do you react when you see someone misbehaving? Do you automatically assume they are a brat, a problem child, a drug addict/alcoholic, a jerk? How quickly do you jump to that conclusion?
What would happen if, instead of making your assumptions so quickly, you observed for a few minutes?
Of course your original thoughts might actually be correct, brats and jerks do exist – in abundance, but…
Might your thoughts of “brat” or “jerk” possibly turn into an eye opening experience? Observe what is going on. Is the child not listening? Perhaps they are autistic. Is the young adult screaming obscenities? Perhaps they feel they are protecting themselves from possible abuse. Is that man shoving people aside as he rushes for an exit? Is it possible he is reliving a combat zone event?
Wait before you pass judgment on a person’s behavior. Observe. Look at the person. Go ahead, at their eyes. If you are aware of the signs and symptoms, you can see it in the eyes.
- · A vacant/ faraway look can be autism
- · Pain or fear can be emotional issues
- · Anxiety or vigilance can be combat PTSD
The eyes truly are the windows to the soul. Don’t be too quick to pass judgment on someone. Maybe instead of your criticism they actually need kindness, guidance, and understanding.
Something to think about, isn’t it?
*Pam Horton is a Certified Christian Life Coach in the Raleigh area. She worked 14 years in public schools and is active in Autism Awareness and Military Support programs.*