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Smile, Don’t Stare Campaign in Bethesda Magazine


The Lollipop Kids Foundation, a Rockville group that supports children with disabilities, has begun a new campaign to raise awareness about how to interact with children with disabilities.

The “Smile Don’t Stare” campaign kicked off Tuesday night with the release of a new public service announcement posted on YouTube.

The video features information about children with disabilities and shows children and some of their parents holding signs about how they would like to be treated. The full campaign is designed to help people better understand how to communicate with people living with disabilities.

“It’s a campaign geared toward education and compassion,” said Debbie Sahlin, who is leading the initiative. “The whole idea of this campaign is to let people know it’s OK to look and even better to ask a question.”

Sahlin said parents have a teacheable moment when their children ask them about a person with disabilities and rather than say ‘don’t look’ or remove their children from the situation, parents should take the time to explain what disabilities are and how they affect people.

“We want children to grow with an inclusive attitude,” said Sahlin.