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24 of the Most Ridiculous Questions Asked About Disability

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People with disabilities or other health conditions are often unfairly subjected to ridiculous questions. Even when loved ones, colleagues or passersby have the best intentions, it wouldn’t hurt to stop and think for a moment before asking a question that may turn out to be embarrassing, uncomfortable or even hurtful.

The Mighty asked our readers for some of the most ridiculous, silly or outrageous questions they or a loved one have been asked.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. “You’re going to get that fixed right?”
Said to my husband while grocery shopping with our baby [who was] born with a cleft lip. They clearly had a guardian angel protecting them that day as I was out of earshot.Lena Kotler-Wallace

"You're going to get that fixed, right?" -- Lena Kotler-Wallace

2. “What’s his genius?”
Asked (in a gushing voice) about my ASD son — Carole Anne Trisler

3. “Why do you bother doing stuff if you’re in pain?”
This one ticks me off because what is the alternative? Would you like me to do nothing for the rest of my life? — Alana Schuurs

4. “Your son doesn’t look autistic. Are you sure? He seems smart!”
Oh, how I want to vomit when I hear this… — Amanda Lillian Wolfe

"Your son doesn't look autistic. Are you sure? He seems smart!"

5. “Why is your daughter on a leash? Does she bite?”
Would you like to find out for yourself?’ — Kathleen Mireles

6. “How can you walk if you have spina bifida?”
Spina bifida can be surgically fixed and every case is different. — Fawn LeMay

7. “So you chose to have her?”
Asked about my daughter with Down syndrome. I’d explained we had a prenatal diagnosis and she seemed horrified. — Candice Waite

"So you chose to have her?" -- Candice Waite

8. “Oh my God, are you related to this other person in town/oh, I also know a person, friend of mine, etc., who also has XYZ condition/disability/difference.”
— Chris Amor

9. “Well what’s their (referring to individuals with Down syndrome) life expectancy?”
When I was talking about how I worried my child without a disability might some day feel responsible for my child who has Down syndrome because my husband and I will be gone, the person asked [this question.] It actually caught me off guard and I started to cry, but I did respond that his life expectancy is 60 or greater. The life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome has greatly improved more recently and I hope it continues to keep increasing, as I want him to live a long healthy and happy life! — Lilly Capecci

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10. “What are you going to do about her?”
Well I thought I’d just ask the nearest dog shelter to pick her up…  — Nikki Charleston

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11. “Why can’t you just pick the piece off that chromosome?”
My son has 11q trisomy, which is an addition on the long arm of his 11th chromosome. –– Paula Lathrop Kockler

12. “Will he grow out of it?”
My son has Down syndrome and autism. I don’t think that’s going to ever happen. — Jennifer Roldan Delligatti

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13. “He’s OK now right?”
Um…. he’s alive and here. He’s more than OK. But yes, he has cerebral palsy and it’s not a tragedy. —  Betsy Pilon

14 & 15. “Is someone here with you?” and “Are you really their father?”
To my wheelchair-bound husband when he was at the mall with the kids. — Amy Namola 

16. “What kinds of foods did you eat when you were pregnant? I’ve read a lot about diseases you can get from food.”
From a stranger at a park while our kids were playing (mine has muscular dystrophy).  — Betsy Ford

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17. “Will he learn sign language?”
Um, no? My son is blind. — Jessica Caromile

18. “Is she only ‘half Down syndrome”?
— Lee Corpus Ulinskas

19. “What’s wrong with her?”
Tell me all that’s right with my kid. Ask me about her health. You can even ask why she wears leg orthotics. But don’t ask me to tell you my child is wrong.
— Kimberly Davis-Morgan

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20. “Why do you have arthritis if you are young? Only old people get that.”
Yeah, would be nice if that were true… — Alana Schuurs

21. “Aren’t you afraid that your doctor will think you are faking it?”
Said to me by a nun who asked if I want holy communion. I was in the hospital, one of many times, to help treat daily migraines. I was able to take a shower that day, fix my hair and put on a little makeup. Apparently, having a chronic condition means you are supposed to look like crap all the time. — Elizabeth Buege-kuehnle

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22. “Down syndrome? How long has she had that?”
Umm… since conception. — Johanna Hirons Radziwon

23. “Is she slow?”
No, actually she is probably smarter than you. Her brain just works differently. — Kerri Lewis Brock

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24. “Can I have a photo with you?”
— Chris Amor

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Originally published: October 27, 2015
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