Living a Life Sensitive to Disabilities_Featured_, Conscious Living Thursday, September 27th, 2012
While there seems to be a lot of discussion surrounding the topic of tolerance, there seems to be one group of people who are consistently excluded from this subject. This is in reference to those people who suffer from mental and physical disabilities. Learning not only tolerance, but sensitivity to people that have mental or physical illnesses/diseases that make them look and/or act differently is just as important as learning to accept and care for people from different races, religious groups and backgrounds.
Many people struggle, however, when it comes to being comfortable around people with mental or physical problems. They don’t know how to talk to, relate to or interact with people that fit into these categories. If this sounds like a problem that you’re facing then keep reading to learn how to be more sensitive to the issues that surround those that struggle with mental or physical issues.
One area that many people fail in is having patience with someone who is disabled in some way. Don’t get frustrated if the person that you’re dealing with doesn’t understand you at first or if they can’t complete a task as quickly as you can. Remember that they are dealing with issues that you can’t imagine.
Many people talk very loud and slowly, as if the person that they’re speaking with is deaf or as if talking louder will help them to understand. While talking a little slower if you tend to be a fast talker is perfectly acceptable in some situations, talking very slowly and over enunciating is just insulting and rude.
When working or interacting with someone that has an obvious disability don’t be afraid to ask questions. The right questions can make it easier for you to communicate, to work together or to enjoy each others company. This is the time to determine whether or not the individual has any hearing or mobility issues that you need to be concerned with.
Let them Help Themselves
When someone with an obvious disability is struggling with something ask before you lend a hand. In many cases, they will want to do it on their own; even if it means taking more time to get the task done. In addition, you should refrain from putting your hands on someone without their permission.
The most important thing that you can do for someone with a mental or physical disability is to treat them with respect. Treat them with the same courtesy and attention by which you yourself want to be treated. This should lead to you treating these individuals in a way that makes them feel as if you care about them rather than their disability.
Whether the person that you’re spending time with has cerebral palsy or a less obvious disability, such as a development disability, you need to understand that they all have feelings just like you do. By being relaxing and being yourself, you’ll find that it’s easy to treat these individuals with dignity and respect.