Yesterday, PCC Hudson excelled at this, and it made me realize that so many have no idea about such things!
A lot of people don’t realize what a disabled person goes through each day. And the more you know, the more you can assist and not frighten a disabled person.
1. Getting Ready To Go Out
It can take 3 hours or so for a disabled person to get ready because there sometimes rest periods as he or she gets ready.
By the time he or she finishes getting ready, then getting in and out of the car, exhaustion has set in.
Allow a few moments for recovering before doing anything BUT smiling and looking directly in their eyes, and greeting them by name. All other things can wait.
2. A Person Using a Cane or Walker
The most fear producing thing for a disabled person is falling.
You might think that following closely or whizzing by would be no big deal. It actually is very frightening. Remind your children to be respectful and understand what the person is going through.
Running past a disabled person can throw off their balance and they may fall after you are gone.
Keep dogs and other animals at a safe distance for the same reason.
Holding a door open and being patient while they walk through is so nice.
3. A Person In a wheelchair
A disabled person cannot see what is going on most of the time, because the wheelchair only faces forward and mobility is limited
The disabled person may have low vision or hearing loss, so, surprise is not fun, it is frightening.
Please stand in front of the wheelchair at a safe distance and bend down so they can see your face.
4. Telling a Disabled Person Something Important
Fatigue is an issue most likely, if what you are saying is important, make sure you are heard or that you write it down for them. They may acknowledge your voice but do not hear you. They may even agree.
Remember that in 2 minutes what you have said may go out of their memory.
Be patient and repeat sweetly if necessary. Speak as if you are telling a small child something, small words, slowly. If they tell you to speed up or look frustrated, ask what is going on.
You may need to take a break or keep on talking, KNOW YOUR AUDEINCE.
5. Respecting and Helping a Disabled Person
Some disabled people like me, won’t ask for help readily.
Gently offer help before it is needed so that the person can ask without feeling they are putting you out or wearing you out. It gives great freedom if one knows help is available.
Offer help, but please don’t take over as if they can’t think, have no judgement skills nor vision nor hearing. Respect the individual and ask what they need. Please keep your fear to yourself and see and ask what a person is able to do.
Ask Questions and Listen!
If I think of anything else, I will write more