Mistake #1. Do Not Invade Their Personal Space
Disabled people don’t like being touched unless invited to do so. Equipment such as wheelchairs and service dogs are also part of their personal space. Coming up suddenly behind a person in a wheelchair and pushing them is very traumatic and disrespectful. Before trying to help a blind person, ask them if you can as they are likely to know where and what they are doing. Respect their personal space and let them ask for help when they need it.
Mistake #2. Treating People With Disabilities as Helpless and Fragile
We often assume that it is best to put a
The media is to blame for painting this pitiful picture. The media runs a lot of “feel good” articles about people achieving glory despite their conditions. Disabled people don’t like a lot of what the media portrays – then again, who does?.
Mistake #3. Asking inappropriate Questions
its ok to ask questions if the disabled person is comfortable. When a disabled person says “no” then you should respect that they do not feel comfortable enough to answer questions. Some think they have the right to ask things such as:
“how did you become disabled?”
“When will you get better?”
Its up to the person to decide if they want to discuss their lives with you, by respecting this you will gain respect back.
“Have you tried therapies such as….?”
Mistake #4. Talking to a Person with Disabilities in a Childlike Manner
Non-disabled people treat people like they are children or dumb. Deaf people are yelled at which is difficult to lip read. When a physically disabled person is out in public with their caregiver or family a stranger will address the caregiver first.
“is he able to walk?”
“How does he/she cope?”
Speak normally to the disabled person, just as you would with anyone else.
Mistake #5. Making Innappropriate Remarks
Able-bodied people will make suggestions on how people with disabilities can improve their condition even when able-bodied do not know what they are talking about. Comments such as:
“You dont look autistic”
“Have you tried to walk?”
“Do you date people?”
All very demeaning and its better to say as little as possible. Let them take the lead.