When you are disabled you kind of get used to people saying things that rude and insensitive and learn to ignore it. Sometimes when abled people say some things they may have every good intention to want to help but disabled people may not see it in the same way and think it’s rude and insensitive. How you approach and speak to a disabled person matters because that will depend on whether or not they will develop a positive or negative feeling about you. It is always good when disabled people have positive feelings towards people but we don’t always because of the actions of some abled people. One way to change that and to have a positive impact on a disabled person is to listen to disabled people and to stop saying these things.
What’s wrong with you?- For starters, there is nothing wrong with me I have a disability and you should never approach a disabled person in such a rude and insulting way. Some people will be an open book and want to tell you all about their disability while others will be very private about it and won’t feel comfortable talking about their disability at all with others. You are not entitled to know someone’s disability and it’s their choice on whether or not they want to open up to you and how much. If you are curious about someone’s disability and then they wouldn’t mind then go right ahead and ask but be mindful of your word choice. If you start the sentence with what is wrong with you chances are they will not open up to you and just roll their eyes. Instead of starting the sentence with what is wrong with you why not try something like “if you don’t mind what is your disability?” It is more polite and disabled people will be more willing to open up to people who don’t sound entitled but genuinely interested.
You’re so pretty!– If you legitimately think I am pretty then fine but if you hate everything I am wearing and think I am ugly then why are you telling me I am pretty? Disabled people get compliments left and right but most of the compliments are what I like to call fake compliments and were only said because we are disabled and people think we need one. This has got to be one of the most annoying things people do and I wish they wouldn’t do it! Disabled people don’t need more compliments but need more real and true compliments that weren’t just said because we are disabled and people feel sorry for us. Always remember there is nothing sad about being disabled and we are just different.
My neighbor has a disability, do you know her?- Even though I am disabled that doesn’t mean I know every single disabled person on the face of this earth but actually, I know very few all of which can be counted on one hand!
HEELLOO HOOWW ARREE YOOUU- I am physically disabled and have no problems understanding people so when you use your voice that you would talk to a toddler with it’s just plain annoying. Some disabled people may need you to talk slower but a vast majority will not and can understand you just as well as an abled person can. Disabled people who need you to talk slower will ask otherwise it’s probably unnecessary and can understand you just fine.
I’m sorry you’re disabled- I’m not! Some disabled people do feel sorry for themselves and want your pity so please don’t encourage it! I happen to not be one of those people and without my disability, I would be a completely different person and some of the incredible friendships I have now I wouldn’t have if I was abled because they are people I have met through my disability. I can’t even imagine life without some of these friendships because it has made me who I am. Some people cannot see the positives of being disabled and think that if they were abled their life would be so much better because all their problems would have disappeared. Sorry guys, but it doesn’t work that way and disabled or not you will still face challenges you just may not face physical challenges. Instead of feeding into someone’s pity teach them how to embrace their disability because sometimes all it takes is, one positive role model, to change someone’s mindset.
Slow down or you’ll get a speeding ticket- It’s cheesy and disabled people always inwardly roll their eyes and think “haven’t heard that one before” when they hear it.
Let me hook you up– Disabled people date, get married and some even have families and if they don’t it doesn’t mean we want you to find us a man. If we wanted one that badly we are perfectly capable of looking for one ourselves and we don’t need you to do it for us but appreciate it when you don’t try to hook us up with your friend or coworkers just because you think we need a man. Some disabled people don’t want to date( I happen to be one of those people) and for those who do and are desperate to find that significant other, I have a little secret for you: You don’t need a man to be happy! If a man is the only thing in life you think you need to happy then there may be something else in your life that is causing your unhappiness and finding a man will not fix that.
I know someone with your condition, so I understand- It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, coworker, sibling, close friend, or even my doctor who treats my condition unless you have my condition you cannot relate to it. If you know me personally you may have a lot of knowledge on my condition but unless you are in my situation you cannot relate to it on any personal level and what you see is only a small fraction of what I have to deal with on day to day basis. If I am having a medical problem and need surgery you can feel sorry that I have to go through that again but unless you have my disability you cannot fully understand the frustrations that come with it. Sometimes people think saying “I understand” is comforting but really it’s not but is just plain annoying unless it is coming from someone who is in my situation and truly does understand.
As a disabled person, people have said these more times than I would like to admit and yes it hurts but just like anyone else we have to try to ignore it. Sometimes people truly do mean well and want to know more but there are also less insulting ways to approach disabled people other than to say “what is wrong with you”. If you want to have a positive impact on someone the language you use matters and although some people may have an easier time ignoring insensitive comments others will not and it will really bother them and have a negative impact on their life. Disabled people already have a lot of negative feelings towards some abled people and you are only making worse by not listening to disabled people and not wanting to change. Disabled people just want to be heard like else and the way you do that is by changing the way to speak. If you have any questions about things you should never say to a handicapped person please leave them in the comments below.
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