Two incidents, just from today, both in public places around strangers:
"Mama, look, that guy is totally bald, he doesn't have ANY hair on his head!"
For this one, the guy (fortunately!) didn't appear to hear him, so I just explained that we don't point out things like that because it might make the person uncomfortable, but he can always talk to me about it later when we're alone.
The other comment:
"Why is that guy in a wheelchair?"
We were already talking to this guy and he was very friendly, so I just kind of gestured to him to answer & he did ("My foot has a boo-boo.") We've talked about wheelchairs many times but he wants to know why this SPECIFIC man was in a wheelchair, not the possible reasons.
I'm not sure how to handle this in a broader sense. I welcome his curiosity & want to help him understand everything around him... but I don't want to make anyone upset. I don't know that DS has any concept of embarrassment or self-consciousness (I don't know if that's because of his age or his social/emotional issues) so he really can't relate when I try to explain that some people may feel uncomfortable with his comments. I also don't really buy into the whole silence around differences, I feel like it contributes to a feeling that being different is somehow shameful or bad. And part of me feels like I'm teaching him to talk about people behind their backs if I tell him to ask me later. Am I making sense? How do you handle these kinds of things, both in the moment & afterwards?