What Not To Say To A Disabled Person

What Not To Say To A Disabled Person

My Rockin Disabled Life

Hi friends, my name is Sarah and I live with a disability called Spina Bifida and have more physical challenges than most people. I am on a mission to help break disability stigma and help you unlearn all the poor disability representation in the media.

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  1. Connected Carole

    Different sayings from what I hear! But how rude – or maybe just unthinking – can some people be? Thanks for bringing it to people’s attention that they need to think before they talk. Maybe they just need to learn that we are like other people and conversation should be like they would with anyone. We just may look or move differently than they do.

    1. My Rockin Disabled Life

      Yeah I think a majority of the time people say things before they think about it. I agree I think the biggest problem is abled people are too focused on our disability that they don’t realize we are different people and conversation can be had in the same way as anyone else.

  2. Invisibly Me

    What’s “wrong” with you really does echo the crux of judgement around illness and disability, doesn’t it? Like disability is a dirty word, that a person isn’t ‘normal’ or good enough because they’ve got a health condition. What a load of nonsense. Dangerous and insulting nonsense.

    Oh by the way, I had a client in my last job, before my health fully went down the toilet, who had Spina Bifida. Peter. Do you know him? 😆

    I’ve seen comments online, and I’ve even been right there in front of someone as they’ve said it – “ugh, a stoma bag, how horrible, I could never have one of those.” Delightful. But to have someone say they didn’t think they could carry on living, yikes. The best way that can be viewed is someone meaning well but coming about it all wrong, like trying to suggest you’re somehow “braver” than they are for living as you do with what you have to deal with, because they couldn’t do it. That’s still bad enough. From others, this type of comment is pure horror, borne from so much judgement and stigma that it’s unreal. Honestly, I don’t think I could carry on living if I were so bloody ignorant to say things like this. I’m just so sorry for all those who’ve had to hear it.

    That’s a really good point about not trying to label or categorise someone as being differently abled, even if you mean well in trying to show someone you believe disability isn’t a “bad” word. Then again, to have someone say they don’t see you as disabled… I don’t know. Like you said, it’s like “disabled” is a curse word. It all tracks back to the deeply ingrained social stigma and ignorance and lack of understanding.

    As for someone asking “how do you go to the bathroom? Rude, much?! I don’t know what I’d do in that situation, I’m not fast enough these days to come up with a fast enough retort. “How do you go to the bathroom, with your head so far up your arse?”

    This is a fab post, Sarah. It’s good for those in similar situations facing stupid comments and questions. And also good for those who aren’t disabled, to give insights and provoke thought on things they may not have considered before, which may just make the difference in being supportive towards someone with a disability, and merely causing grief and gut-ache.

    Caz xxxx

    1. My Rockin Disabled Life

      Thank you, I have had my share of stupid ignorant comments that can be very damaging towards someone’s mental health so I try not to take them personally and remind myself that people who say things like this clearly do not understand. I think sometimes people say things without thinking and legitimately believe living with a disability is horrible because people don’t realize our disabilities just make us different and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

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