Meeting people with disabilities can raise a lot of questions, especially if you’ve never met anyone with a disability before. Often times, the voice of those with disabilities gets forgotten; lost in the noise of everything else. It may not be intentional at first, but the voice is drowned out all the same. Before making rash judgements or assuming certain things about people, take a look at these 7 things to know about having a disability.
1) Handicapped stalls are there for a reason
While it may feel nice to “go” in a larger space, handicapped stalls are there for individuals with physically disabilities or ailments. For some people, that handicapped stall is the only one that works for them. Why make them wait when you could’ve chosen 12+ other stalls? We aren’t shaming anyone; we’ve all done it. But next time you think about going into the handicapped stall just because it’s bigger, remember someone else needs it more.
2) Accept the difference
We are all different. We come in different shapes, sizes, and colors and have learned how to co-exist like that. People with disabilities need that sense of belonging and inclusiveness just as much as the next person. Different is beautiful if you give it the chance.
3) Discrimination is everywhere
This can be a hard one to overcome. Like we’ve said before, society has taught us that those who are different should be excluded. This isn’t just a disability issue, it’s skin color, gender, and size issue as well. It won’t change over night but if one person takes a step in the right direction, others will follow. When you see discrimination of any type happening, speak up- you may change a life.
4) Some things are difficult, not impossible
Depending on the disability, some activities can be rather difficult or strenuous, but they aren’t impossible. It may take that person a few extra minutes, but be patient.
5) Ask don’t persist
This can be a difficult point. While some people may jump at the chance to accept your help, if they say no, respect their wishes and move on. Your intentions may be good, but if a person with a disability doesn’t want your help, don’t push the issue.
6) Disabled, not broken
Too often, we believe that people with disabilities are “broken”; whether that is physically or mentally. Just because someone has a disability, doesn’t mean that they can’t do everything an average person can.
7) Things are improving, but not fast enough
In general, society is slowly accepting people with disabilities whether it’s in schools or in the workforce. People with disabilities have more opportunities now than ever before, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Educate yourself on people with disabilities and be their advocate. We are stronger together!
Creating a deeper community
At Sunshine, our foundation is community with our friends, family, and supporters. We believe that every person, disability or not, deserves to live their life to the fullest and reach their ultimate potential. When you meet someone with a disability, keep these 7 things in mind and know that your support can create a better, stronger community.