Abled and disabled people should both make an effort to learn about different disabilities and educating our kids about them but unfortunately, a lot of parents do not know anyone who is disabled so they don’t think it’s important to educate their kids on different disabilities. Educating your children on disabilities is just as important as anything else and although you may not personally know anyone who is disabled you never know if your child will cross paths with someone who is and if you never teach them about disabilities they will not know how to properly interact with that person and may just end up hurting their feelings. Whether you have abled or disabled children it is really important you teach your kids a few life lessons about disability so they can have a better understanding of it and treat us with the respect we deserve.
Handicapped bathrooms are for disabled people- I see so many people go into the handicapped bathroom and spend a significant amount of time in there that are probably not disabled! Handicapped bathrooms are not there for your convenience but are there to assist the people who are actually disabled so unless you really need them or there are no other stalls available then don’t use them! Handicapped bathrooms are not there for, social hour or for your convenience so if you need to use them and are not disabled be quick you would never want to hold up someone who has no other alternatives.
Don’t judge people who don’t look disabled- We all have probably given someone a dirty look because they have pulled into a handicapped parking spot and they do not look disabled at all. There may be more invisible disabilities than visible disabilities so even though someone doesn’t look disabled that doesn’t mean they aren’t so you should never judge someone because they don’t look disabled because you never know if they have an invisible disability! Yes, there may be a lot of people who abuse privileges such as close parking but there are a lot of people who don’t abuse these privileges and have legitimate disabilities. Unless you know someone personally and know they do not have a disability it is never fair to judge someone because they don’t appear to be disabled.
Stand up for disabled people- When I was in high school I had a class with a girl who was always bullied by my classmates to the point she went in the back room and cried. She had a disability and was different from everyone else but my classmates just thought she was weird and refused to do any projects with her so I was always the one who was stuck doing every project with her. She didn’t have the best work ethic but I treated her in the way you are supposed to treat people and made her feel good about herself. Some disabled people cannot stick up for themselves and will just cry when someone is being mean to them so, teach your kids to stick up for them even if everyone in the class hates that person! It is the right thing to do and everyone needs a friend even disabled people.
You’re not entitled to know someone’s disability- From a very young age, you need to be teaching your kids that they are not entitled to know someone’s disability. When your child is young and asks a disabled person what’s wrong with them it’s cute and a disabled person will most likely not take it personally but will educate that child on their disability. As they grow older it will become less cute because disability is a sensitive topic for a lot of disabled people and some of us do not like to share our disabilities. If a disabled person wants you to know what their disability is they will tell you otherwise it’s none of your business!
Always offer help- If you see a disabled person struggling don’t be that person that watches them struggle! Go up to them and offer to help and if they say they don’t want your help then walk away. Disabled people don’t like abled people doing everything for them so when we tell you we can do something for ourselves listen to us because there will be plenty of opportunities we will need your assistance. When you see a disabled person struggling always offer to help and don’t just stand there and watch them struggle! I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the mall and have struggled and no one offers to help me but instead, they just watch me struggle.
It’s okay to be disabled- A disability may have many challenges and your child may have a lot of questions that you may not have the answers to but it is important that you explain to them that it is totally okay to be disabled and that we are just different people that struggle with different things but there is nothing wrong with disabled people!
Interacting with disabled people- Disabled people are just different people that struggle with different things but we don’t need special treatment! We can carry on a conversation just as well as any abled person can so talking really slow to us is really annoying! If we need or want you to slow down we will ask otherwise don’t do it! The language you use around a disabled person is also very important because although some disabled may have some learning challenges identifying a disabled person as retarded is hurtful because of a lot of us of average intelligence! Please be mindful of the language you use because it does have a huge impact on us!
Some accommodations are a necessity- What some accommodations such as close parking that an abled person sees as a privilege a disabled person sees as a necessity because without these accommodations we would not be able to do even simple quick errands without becoming completely exhausted!
When you have kids it is so important that you start teaching them a few lessons about disability at a very young age. As you get older it will be harder to explain these things to your kids and have them listen to you than it would have been if you would have just done it at a young age. I don’t have children( probably never will) but if I did these are a few things I would teach my kids and I am hoping that you will do the same! If you have any questions about lessons you need to teach your children please leave them in the comments below.