How to Support Someone With a Disability

Whether it be a loved one, a friend, or a colleague, treating someone with a disability with respect and equality is vital. Many people have admitted to consciously avoiding someone with a disability, stating that they were either uncomfortable, were afraid of offending the individual, or just didn’t know what to talk about.

This means that the average person lacks the knowledge of how to treat a disabled individual fairly and appropriately, which can sometimes lead to a problematic situation. Down below, you’ll find some tips on how to support someone who struggles with a disability and what to do in an instance where an unexpected occurrence may happen.

#1 Be Patient

Patience is one of the most important things to remember when dealing with a person who is disabled. One of the most common situations that have been observed involves an individual who gets frustrated or irritated with a disabled person; this isn’t fair and may cause offense and also embarrassment. Even though physically challenged people struggle with something that may be more prominent, most people don’t realize that they themselves also have things they struggle with in their lives, whether it be anxiety or depression, for example. Be patient when they need a second to collect themselves, and assure them that you’re in no rush even if you are – nothing can ever be urgent enough for one person to hurt another emotionally.

#2 Offer assistance

A lot of disabled people often prefer doing everything by themselves but offer support anyway. If a person who is blind needs help down some stairs, try offering your arm to make sure they get down safely. If your loved one needs help with anything, be willing to lend a helping hand, whether it be medical like replacing their coloplast speedicath, or something more minor like a lift to the mall. Be sure to respect personal space as well – refrain from just grabbing on to someone who looks like they need help without asking first. Your gesture may come from a good place but can still startle them if you didn’t ask first. 

#3 Acknowledgment 

Acknowledging someone as a person goes a long way, and it counts for everyone whether they are disabled or not. Even if a disabled individual has a translator, carer, or friend, face them directly away when you’re talking to them – they are in the conversation as well and will feel included if you were to look at them while conversing. Also, try not to be overly explanatory if talking to someone with a hearing disability. For instance, even though making big gestures and talking loudly may feel like it’s helping, they should be able to understand or read your lips if you were just to speak clearly. 

#4 Be kind

Being kind is probably one of the best things you can do in this world. Being kind doesn’t just count when you’re in a good mood but should be a way of life for you. People with disabilities get enough comments, stares, and unfair attitudes pointed towards them; being kind might just be the most refreshing thing you could have done for them. 

In a world that is filled with all kinds of opinions and judgment, supporting one another and treating other people fairly goes a long way – be sure you’re one of these people!

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