How to interact with a person with a disability

A forum for our physically challenged members.
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Marie5656
Posts: 6772
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 10:10 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by Marie5656 »

Well, I went to the bank the other day with the lady I work with, as she had some business to attend to. I went in with her, to help interpret and all, as she is hard to understand if one does not know her well.

We both left really irritated. Now, the man who worked with us, remembered her as a customer of the bank, and seemed really happy to move chairs to accomodate her wheelchair, and all. But then the accomodating stopped..it was as if she was not there, and he persisted in addressing questions to me. "Does she known her social security number"...."Does she want this..." "does she want that...."

Even though I turned to her, and had her answer each time, it was as if he just did not get it.

So, for those of you who maybe do not interact on a day to day basis with folks with disabilities, here are some helpfull tips:

1. Please talk directly to them...not to thier companion.

2. If thier speech is difficult to understand, ask them to repeat themselves, they will gladly do so. If you still have trouble, then ask if it is OK that thier companion (if one is with them) interprets.

3. If you are speaking with a hearing impared person who is using an interpreter...speak to the person, NOT the interpretor.

4. Do not assume that a person with physical challenges also has cognative challenges....many are college educated, or at least have completed high school.

5. If a person in a wheelchar seems to be having difficulty accessing something, do not automatically rush in to help...but ask if they need assistance.

6. If the person is using a service animal, do not pet or interact with the animal..it is working. Feel free, though to ask its owner questions.

7. If speaking with a person in a wheelchair, sit down, so you are on thier level...imagine if you had to look UP at everyone you were interacting with.

There are more I could think of....but I do not want to overwhelm you all. But I reserve the right to add more later. ;)



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abbey
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Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by abbey »

Good post Marie, some good points. :)
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chonsigirl
Posts: 33631
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:28 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by chonsigirl »

Yes, that is very good advice, Marie. People do that all the time with my husband. Yes, he cannot respond correctly and tell them what the answer is. But most are polite enough to patiently wait while he rambles, then look over at me for a response. His doctors know this, and always let him talk and participate. Now when he had therapy, they were very rude, and would say things in front of him that were discouraging. That should have been told to me when he was not present, not in front of him. He can understand what they are saying, just not respond. He was always upset when he came home from therapy, because of negative comments.

It only takes a little time, patience, and a respect for the disabled person to show good manners.
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BabyRider
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Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 1:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by BabyRider »

Great post Marie. Why anyone would think that a person with a disability shouldn't be treated with the same amount of respect as a person without, is beyond me.

My crowd at work, being made up largely of older folks, I have a few who are disabled in some way or another. I have never treated any of them any different than I do my other customers. They are there to drink and have fun just like everyone else, and I make sure they get to.

[FONT=Arial Black][SIZE=3][COLOR=blue]I hope you cherish this sweet way of life, and I hope you know that it comes with a price.


[SIZE=3][COLOR=blue]~Darrel Worley~[/COLOR][/SIZE]


[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]










Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????




We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.






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valerie
Posts: 7125
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by valerie »

I have always tried the offers of assistance... but sometimes it

backfires, and you just have to realize what they are going through

in life and not let it bother you. A while back, in the grocery store,

an elderly gentleman had a hard time getting out of one of those

store electric carts, he tried 3 times and sat back down each time, not

enough muscle tone. So I went over and said "How 'bout I give you a

hand?" and he just looked almost straight through me, I KNOW he didn't

want to take help from a (AHEM) young woman. So I just said "I'm

really strong" and then he held out his arms and I pulled him up. He

was okay and all smiles after that, so that made me happy.



As an aside, one time I saw a Guide Dog for the Blind (of course a

gsd!!) in the grocery store... the handler was getting help from a

store employee, and the dog was standing SMACK DAB next to one

of those Boboli pizza display racks, salami hanging within inches of his

nose, and he didn't turn a hair!! What a GREAT dog!! Training PLUS!!





:-6
Tamsen's Dogster Page

http://www.dogster.com/?27525



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BabyRider
Posts: 10163
Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2005 1:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by BabyRider »

valerie wrote: I have always tried the offers of assistance... but sometimes it

backfires, and you just have to realize what they are going through

in life and not let it bother you. A while back, in the grocery store,

an elderly gentleman had a hard time getting out of one of those

store electric carts, he tried 3 times and sat back down each time, not

enough muscle tone. So I went over and said "How 'bout I give you a

hand?" and he just looked almost straight through me, I KNOW he didn't

want to take help from a (AHEM) young woman. So I just said "I'm

really strong" and then he held out his arms and I pulled him up. He

was okay and all smiles after that, so that made me happy.



As an aside, one time I saw a Guide Dog for the Blind (of course a

gsd!!) in the grocery store... the handler was getting help from a

store employee, and the dog was standing SMACK DAB next to one

of those Boboli pizza display racks, salami hanging within inches of his

nose, and he didn't turn a hair!! What a GREAT dog!! Training PLUS!!





:-6

While it's sad for their neccessity, I LOVE seeing Leader Dogs. I'm always so tempted to go over and hug them till they squeak, but you can't when they're working. Those are some truly incredible dogs.

[FONT=Arial Black][SIZE=3][COLOR=blue]I hope you cherish this sweet way of life, and I hope you know that it comes with a price.


[SIZE=3][COLOR=blue]~Darrel Worley~[/COLOR][/SIZE]


[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]










Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????




We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.






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cars
Posts: 10188
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 12:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by cars »

Marie5656 wrote: Well, I went to the bank the other day with the lady I work with, as she had some business to attend to. I went in with her, to help interpret and all, as she is hard to understand if one does not know her well.

We both left really irritated. Now, the man who worked with is, remembered her as a customer of the bank, and seemed really happy to move chairs to accomodate her wheelchair, and all. But then the accomodating stopped..it was as if she was not there, and he persisted in addressing questions to me. "Does she known her social security number"...."Does she want this..." "does she want that...."

Even though I turned to her, and had her answer each timm, it was as if he just did not get it.

So, for those of you who maybe do not interact on a day to day baisis with folks with disabilities, here are some helpfull tips:

1. Please talk directly to them...not to thier companion.

2. If thier speech is difficult to understamd, ask them to repeat themselves, they will gladly do so. If you still have trouble, then ask if it is OK that thier companion (if one is with them) interprets.

3. If you are speaking with a hearing impared person who is using an interpreter...speak to the person, NOT the interpretor.

4. Do not assume that a person with physical challenges also has cognative challenges....many are college educated, or at least have completed high school.

5. If a person in a wheelchar seems to be having difficulty accessing something, do not automatically rush in to help...but ask if they need assistance.

6. If the person is using a service animal, do not pet or interact with the animal..it is working. Feel free, though to ask its owner questions.

7. If speaking with a person in a wheelchair, sit down, so you are on thier level...imagine if you had to look UP at everyone you were interacting with.

There are more I could think of....but I do not want to overwhelm you all. But I reserve the right to add more later. ;)






Great advice Marie. I must admit though, that I do have trouble looking at people that are terribly deformed, or missing a leg, or arm. I just try to just look at their face (if it's not deformed) when talking to them, and not stare at their imparement, but to my dismay I find it very difficult. :(

(Can't selfishly help but think, glad that's not me)
Cars :driving:

<"LIFE is SHORT, Make the most of it!!!" GET OUTTA HERE!>



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chonsigirl
Posts: 33631
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:28 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by chonsigirl »

Cars, I think the disabled person knows that. Everyone looks at the deformity first-a wheelchair, a prosthetic arm, etc. But after you look at it-yes, we all do, it must be human nature-go back to eye to eye contact with them.
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Sheryl
Posts: 8498
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 3:08 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by Sheryl »

Marie, these are great. Thanks for posting them. I've only worked with one handicapped person, and he was a 3rd grader with cerebal pasley. He was very intelligent, just didn't have full motor skills. He was a hoot, except when he'd call his therapist a few choice names. :)
"Girls are crazy! I'm not ever getting married, I can make my own sandwiches!"

my son
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abbey
Posts: 15069
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:00 pm

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by abbey »

The lady that took my sign language course was deaf,

she told me the two most annoying thing to her were people speaking slowly

and people shouting as if she would be able to hear them.
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Accountable
Posts: 24818
Joined: Mon May 30, 2005 8:33 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by Accountable »

I make it a point to be as normal as possible and avoid sounding patronizing. Generally I try to keep it light. It's easy with ladies. I can flirt a little and joke around when appropriate. When offering help, I usually say something like "I can't let anybody thing my Momma didn't raise a gentleman!"



Working with Katrina evacuees, I remember one gent who broke into tears because of the levels I'd go to to help him. It was easy to tell him that he'd do the same for me, if situations were reversed.



A few weeks ago I struck up a conversation with a one-legged lady. She was young, so I'd assumed she was a war vet. We talked about her being a financial counselor, and she said it was completely different from what she used to do. I asked the next natural question: "What did you do before?" She said she was a competitive ballroom dancer.

A dozen awkward encouragements came to mind to say, then I thought - what would I say if she had both legs? "Boy, that IS different!" and we both had a good laugh.
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Marie5656
Posts: 6772
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 10:10 am

How to interact with a person with a disability

Post by Marie5656 »

Here is another one I thought of...

It is OK to ask what thier disability is, but remember, the person may not want to tell you, so do not feel badly.

Also, if you are with a young child, who will naturally be curious, let them approach and say hi if they want, often the person will welcome a curious question from a child, rather than a stare and being yanked away by the parent.

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