If you are disabled or are very close with someone who is you may choose to share your experiences about your disability but unfortunately more often than not these experiences are not taken seriously by most people. Parents, grandparents, and siblings of disabled children may have more knowledge on a specific disability than an average person does but because they are not disabled they will not pick up on some things a disabled person will. There are so many different disabilities and everyone can learn from the disabled community(even disabled people) so although you may have a disability that does not mean you do not have to listen to others in the disabled community. Still not convinced that listening to the disabled community is important? Although you don’t have to listen to us here are a few reasons why you should!
We can provide a different perspective- People with disabilities face a lot of challenges and are always looking for ways to make their lives easier! The ways an abled person looks at a situation and the way a disabled person looks at a situation is going to be totally different because nine times out of ten disabled people are looking for things that abled people don’t have to look for. If you want to help make our lives easier don’t try to sound like the smartest person in the room because not only do people not like hanging around those types of people but sometimes your suggestions actually make our lives harder. Always be open to our suggestions because although your way may seem easier sometimes it isn’t! We don’t give these suggestions to sound like a smarty pants but because we genuinely want to make our lives easier.
Help make your home/business accessible- If you are disabled and have a physical disability you can probably agree that most stores say they are accessible but really are not. The only accessible thing about it is that we can get through the doorway but as far as navigating the store and getting things off shelves that can be difficult! In my experience most business owners are not aware of this fact and bringing it to their attention may help with making stores more accessible for people with disabilities!
Consider your word choice– Some words or phrases can be considered offensive towards a disabled person! When a disabled person tells you should not use certain words they are not saying that to be annoying but because some words are considered offensive towards disabled people. Disabled people roll their eyes when people use the words retarded, crippled and the phrase wheelchair-bound so although you can use those words it is frowned upon! If you respect a certain individual try to not use these words!
Our experiences matter- When an abled person reads a blog post written by a disabled blogger a lot of the time they take that advice like a grain of salt because some issues that disabled bloggers may talk about may sound false or over-exaggerated. Disabled bloggers bring awareness to real disability-related issues that no one talks about so although something may seem false or overexaggerated unless you were there and have reason to believe our information is false and accusing us of overexaggerating our stories is hurtful. If you want to expand your knowledge about various disabilities and make a difference listen to us and stop blowing us off!
Have you ever debated disability-related topic? Although I have nothing against debating disability-related issues people who are not disabled should not debate them. People who are abled that do debate these topics more often than not are considered ableist so unless you are talking from an abled person’s perspective don’t try to debate these topics! If you absolutely must give your opinion on a disability issue then there is nothing wrong with that but just know that your opinion is not as valid as if you were disabled. A person with a disability might disagree with your point and that is okay just say what you need to say and move on! Do you think the general public should listen to the disabled community?