My son is 4.5 and has a new boy starting in his pre-school class who has cerebral palsy. The new boy's mom is nervous that her son will struggle not knowing anyone and with others not being kind to him because of his condition, so we have arranged for a playdate before he starts so there will be a familiar face at pre-school etc. I know from speaking to her previously that she can be sensitive to people using insensitive language to talk about her son's condition and experience and has been offended by this in the past.
I was just after some advice from moms with experience of what would be a sensitive way to explain questions my son might ask of why the new boy is different from him. He will be at mainstream school when he goes, so his abilities aren't that different from his peers, but his mobility and speech are notably different from my son's at present. I guess I want to avoid being put on the spot by my son asking an awkward question while the new boy and his mom are with us and answering with a term that could be taken as insensitive. I would naturally feel inclined to avoid negative terms like "there's something wrong with..." or "xxx doesn't work properly", but equally feel that just using "differently" ie, "his legs work differently from yours" might get a bit clumsy and might just encourage another "why?"
I don't forsee this being a major problem; hopefully they will get on fine and my son won't have too many questions, but I just want to be prepared and don't want to offend inadvertently.