Kathy! Thank you for this wonderful piece! I totally get what you are saying. Different does not mean broken. And it does not mean unhappy. Struggles to one person are not struggles to someone else and the last thing one needs is other people’s pity.
And one thing about asking questions: I don’t think it is okay to walk up to strangers and ask them questions they might not be ready for or they might not be willing to answer. I know people are “just asking” and “just curious” but they shouldn’t be. Not only is it impolite, but it’s also intrusive. Staring at others and/or asking questions cannot be the only options available. It would be better to let a curious child know that we are all different and leave it at that. If your child still has questions, well, that’s what Google searches at home are for. We are all just trying to live our lives to the best of our abilities. And people with disabilities have the same right to do so without having to become spokespersons for their disability or teaching tools for other people’s children.