Disability Etiquette- How to Treat and Respect People with Disabilities?
There are many people with disabilities, and those who have interacted with them know how they need to be treated. Still, people who have never interacted with a person with a mental or physical disability might find it intimidating and awkward. They might worry about how to talk with them, what to talk about or how to react while talking. This is normal if you have not interacted with a disabled person before.
There are a few disability etiquettes that you need to keep in mind while talking with people with disabilities since they are a little more sensitive, and you need to be extra careful while talking with them. Learning the proper way to behave and speak around people with disabilities is essential if you are going to talk with them quite often. Sometimes, you might upset the people with disabilities as your behaviour might seem disrespectful to them even when you don’t have any such intention. Just like every other person, people with disabilities deserve to be treated with respect and proper behaviour.
You can learn some disability etiquette tips so that you can interact with people with disabilities without making them feel disrespectful or offensive. You need to have a sense of disability awareness and etiquette so that person doesn’t feel disrespectful in any way.
We will discuss some disability etiquette tips with you so that you behave with people with disabilities properly whenever you meet them.
So, let’s get started!
Find commonalities and not differences
Whenever you interact with a person with a disability, focus on the commonalities between you two rather than the differences. Common grounds are the base of all human connections, and when you find something common with them, you can deal with the differences. Everyone likes to be treated with equality, and therefore, make sure to make them feel comfortable in your presence rather than making them feel different because of their physical disability.
Don’t feel pity for them
Whenever you interact with a person with a disability, make sure not to feel pitiful for them. Most people with disabilities don’t like it when people feel sorry for their disability. Be normal around them and don’t assume that they see their disability as a tragedy. You should never use words like “I am sorry that happened with you” with a person with a disability because this can instantly make them feel sad and sorry.
Never try to avoid someone with a disability
We often find it intimidating to converse and interact with people with disabilities, but it isn’t as tough if you know how to behave around them. You should make eye contact with the person while communicating and not avoid them during a conversation. People often ignore people with disabilities because they fear they will unintentionally say something disrespectful to them but ignoring the person isn’t going to help. Just be normal around them, talk with them like you talk with everyone else, and keep eye contact with them. Not having eye contact might make them feel ignored.
Don’t use offensive terms and derogatory statements
People often use offensive terms that might hurt other people. You need to be extra careful while talking with a person with a disability. Some names and phrases have become so common in our culture that they don’t seem offensive, but that doesn’t mean you can use these terms all the time. A disabled person might take these terms personally and get offended. Respect people with disabilities and don’t let them feel bad about their disability. Be polite and treat them with kindness.
Be kind to them
Kindness is the new cool. In today’s world, where people forget manners and become unnecessarily rude, kindness is rare. Being kind is the need of the hour and treating disabled people with kindness is the best thing you can do. Be kind to them and make them feel positive in your presence. Help them if needed but don’t try to accommodate every last need of someone in an attempt to be respectful. Just be kind and ask them if they need any help, don’t overdo anything.
Don’t be afraid to ask them questions
When you are interacting with a disabled person, talk with them freely. Don’t make any assumptions about them or their disability because you can get yourself in trouble by making assumptions. Assumptions can be wrong sometimes and can lead to stereotypes and offensive comments. Instead, ask them appropriate questions, and if they don’t find it comfortable to answer, don’t force them because disability can be personal, and they might not be ready to talk about it yet.
Let them be themselves
Some disabled people behave differently, and it might seem strange to you, but you shouldn’t point it out to them. Even if you don’t understand what they are doing, instead of asking them or pointing it out, it’s better to just let it be. The more you give them their space and let them be themselves, the more they will trust you and become friendly with you.
Here were some of the disability etiquette tips you can follow while interacting with a person with a disability. Just keep in mind that respect people with disabilities and treat them with kindness whenever you meet them. Make them feel comfortable in your company, and you will enjoy their company.
How can Access Foundation help people with disabilities?
Access Foundation is a disability service provider in West Australia providing quality disability services and assisting people with disabilities in living independent life. Apart from helping the people with NDIS funds and fulfilling goals, we also help them become more social and active in the community. We help them to interact with people and engage with other people in society. We help them become confident and live life without any barriers.
If you or any disabled person in your family requires disability support, you can contact us.