What NOT To Say When Meeting a Disabled Person

A disabled person is just like anyone else, so treat them as such.  Do unto others as you would like done unto you! Be polite, respectful and mindful when meeting a disabled person. Here are a few things NOT to say to a disabled person.

#1.  What’s Wrong With You?

There is nothing wrong with a person who has a disability.  Asking questions is ok, it shows you are interested in knowing that person, but avoid the personal questions, especially if its the first time you have just met someone.

If you ask someone straight away about their disability, it tells them that that is the first thing you noticed.

Imagine how you would feel if someone asked you about your medical history or noticed the scars you have on your body.  How would you feel?

Only talk about their disability if they mention it first.

#2.  I Know A Great Doctor That Can Sort You Out

Really, this is the worst thing you could say. It may be said with good intent, but can come across as you seeing them as “faulty”.  I mean, imagine someone telling you they know a good dentist for that gap in your teeth or a great hairdresser for your unruly locks. In any case, they probably already have a support network and medical professionals that suit them.

#3.  Let Me Help You With That

Its fact that we all need help now and then. But please just ask, don’t insist.  Just as you have boundaries, so do people with disabilities – respect theirs too.  Don’t be offended if they don’t want your help.  Doing things by themselves gives them a good feeling of independence.

#4.  You Are An Inspiration To Me

As well meaning as this may seem, it can come across as patronising.  If the person you are talking to has done something really amazing such as climb Mt Everest or won the Paralympics, then sure by all means praise praise praise.