Is it rude to wave your hands in front of someone’s face or push your face in front of their eyes when they tell you not to that because they’re staring through you?

realsocialskills said:

Yes, it’s rude. It’s beyond rude. It’s a violation, and it’s important that you stop doing that.

I’m not sure why this is even a question. I’m guessing a couple of different possibilities:

Possibility number one: you’re a person with a disability, and you’re confused by the concept of personal space.

Personal space is a bit hard to explain. It’s kind of along the lines of this:

  • Bodies are private
  • People shouldn’t touch you without permission, unless there’s an emergency (eg: you’re about to walk into traffic)
  • If people need to touch you and they don’t understand your communication, they should still explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing it
  • And they should still try to ask, and explain that since they don’t understand, they’re having to make guesses
  • The space close to your body is kind of like part of your body, for this purpose
  • No one should be putting things very close to you, or putting their hands in your face, or putting their face very close to yours, unless they have a strong reason to believe that you agree to this
  • You shouldn’t be doing this to other people either. Because their personal space is theirs, and it’s up to them whether or not they want to invite you into it

Possibility number two: you’re a person who works with people with developmental disabilities, and you don’t yet realize that people whose communication and affect is different than yours are as entitled to personal space as you are.

This might be because you don’t realize that atypical communication is communication. Or because you think people need to be normalized to be ok. Or because you think a disabled affect is rude, and that you are entitled to force disabled people to be polite to you. Or any number of other things. I’m not sure what to say about that, except that you’re being rude and invasive and that you should respect personal space and boundaries. 

Some people can’t listen and look at your face at the same time. That doesn’t mean they’re not listening.

Learn to figure out other indications of their attention.

Learn other ways of getting their attention that they’re ok with.

Also: When someone you support is not paying attention to you, consider the possibility that they might be correct not to. They might be ignoring you because you are demanding their attention in circumstances in which it is unwarranted and invasive. People with disabilities have the right to stare into space during their free time without a staff person interrupting and making them interact. 

Be careful about demanding attention when you want to teach, too. If you’re their staff trying to put them on a program teaching something, and they’re ignoring you, they may well be right to. Adults get to decide that they don’t want to learn something. (And, in a lot of circumstances, so do children. If a child isn’t making any choices at all about what they’re doing with their time and what they’re learning, something is wrong.)

tl;dr Don’t wave your hand in front of someone’s face, especially if they’ve told you not to. It’s degrading and mean.