It’s no secret a lot of people in the world aren’t comfortable around people with disabilities, despite the fact that 1 in 5 people have some kind of disability (or a “limiting permanent physical condition” for those who can’t refer to themselves as disabled yet). It can take time getting comfortable with the idea of being disabled, and it can take even longer for people to get comfortable around us.
As a person with a disability, interacting with the public can reveal a number of shocking social mores. We can cause immense stress to some people just by rolling into the room, pulling up to the drive-thru or asking for their help in the store. But it’s never too late for people to change.
If you’ve never gotten to know someone with a disability before, or maybe you’re meeting a person with a disability and are worried you might make a fool of yourself, here are 10 must-know tips on interacting with people with disabilities.
1. Avoid the “you’re so inspirational” remarks.
People with disabilities as a whole don’t like being referred to as “inspirational,” especially when they do a basic task like I dunno, go and buy some milk. And this happens all the time. While some people get inspired by us simply living our lives and can’t help it, please try to refrain from sharing your thoughts with us. We are just trying to live our lives like everyone else. Your comment will have the negative effect, reminding us how different people still think we are.