Even though we experience people with disabilities every single day because there are people who are born with disabilities and there are others who have been involved in a terrible accident, and so they find themselves in their current situation. We live in a very politically correct world and so there is some confusion as to what you should and shouldn’t do when you are around people who are less able than you are. We shouldn’t feel uncomfortable because these people are just like us after all, but the awkwardness is there and so people don’t know what to say or do.
Thankfully there are organisations out there like the impressive and professional NDIS in Tasmania whose job is to change people’s perceptions about others with disabilities and it is their goal to provide help when it is needed the most. They provide many workshops to try to educate people about how they should behave around people with disabilities because you never know when a member of your family or a close friend could be involved in an accident and they end up being confined to a wheelchair. If the above describes you a little bit then you probably would like to know how to properly interact when you are confronted with someone who has a disability.
- Ask before helping – For many people it is just a natural reaction to try to help someone who was in a wheelchair for example, but it might be help that they do not need. Due to modern technology and the ability of people with disabilities to get around more easily, it is generally a lot easier to do your day-to-day things and so if you feel that someone with a disability may need some assistance, get to know them first and then you need to ask first before acting.
- Don’t ignore them – Many people have a really bad habit of ignoring the person with the disability in favour of talking to the person who is helping them. This is incredibly rude and how would you feel if someone totally ignored you and spoke to the person right beside you. If you work in the hospitality industry for example, always ask the person with a disability what they would like to eat and drink instead of looking for guidance from the able bodied person sitting right beside them.
- Try to relax – For some reason people feel uncomfortable around people with disabilities and it really doesn’t make any sense why, but that is the way it is. Just because you see a person sitting in a wheelchair or using crutches to get about, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t real people with real feelings and real opinions.
These are just three excellent pieces of advice to help point you in the right direction when it comes to meeting people who are less able, then you are. The important thing is to just try to be yourself and interact with them as you would with any other person that you happen to meet each day.