The facial disfigurement charity Changing Faces has produced a leaflet to help individuals feel and act more confidently when meeting people with disfigurements. It says: "Look people in the eye. If this is hard at first, look at the bridge of their nose – it has the same effect."
This may seem obvious, but the leaflet was prompted by feedback from a recent advertising campaign by the charity that highlighted the need for practical guidance.
"If you have some sort of disfigurement, people may find it difficult to know how to react to you," says Winnie Coutinho, head of campaigns and communications for Changing Faces. "We're aiming to improve the interaction in a very practical way."
The leaflet makes the point that even an unintentionally insensitive reaction can be hurtful. It quotes Lisa Woolley, who says: "One negative look or comment could change the course of my day from having a great one to having a self-conscious one."
There are also tips for people with disfigurements, including advice about what you should do if you notice someone staring at or making a remark about you. Suggested responses to questions about disfigurements are included too.
The leaflet will be distributed to people with disfigurements, their families, health and education professionals and employers.
Coutinho says: "We hope the leaflet will act as a catalyst for change every time it's opened."