Caring for a disabled person is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience and a true feeling of love and care to become a good ally to disabled individuals. One of the most important qualities when caring for a disabled person is clear communication. Accurate interpretation is the first major step to becoming an ally of a disabled individual.
Here are 5 other important steps to take in developing a helpful relationship.
- Give Disabled People Space
Disabled people who use wheelchairs or other objects that help them move around need adequate space. The objects they use can be thought of as extensions of themselves. Additionally, you should respect a wheelchair when not in use and not use it for stacking items. It should also not be used as a prop to lean on. Animals used as service guides should also be treated as extensions.
- Careful Language
You should be aware of the language you use around disabled people and avoid identifying them by their disability. Instead of referring to them as a patient with a specific disease, call them by their name. Think of the person as having a personality and interests when you describe them to other people. Try not to define them by their disability.
- Avoid Assumptions
Making assumptions can lead to false conclusions, so it’s best not to assume that all disabled people are unhappy. You can learn about the individual by asking them questions. Remember to treat the person like an individual and not someone with a general dysfunction.
- Respect Privacy
Don’t assume you can post a picture of the disabled person on social media without asking. A disabled person still has privacy rights and may not want to be publicized, regardless of the cause.
- Give Disabled People Benefit of the Doubt
Treat a disabled person as someone who can accomplish things. Avoid thinking of them in terms of low expectations. Give them a sense that you have confidence in them.