6 Things everyone should know about disabilities
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Health and Wellness

Instead Of Making Assumptions, Here Are 6 Things Everyone Should Know About Disabilities

We are people, just like everyone else.

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Instead Of Making Assumptions, Here Are 6 Things Everyone Should Know About Disabilities

To piggyback off my last article, most people are not educated on individuals with disabilities. From a person with a disability, I think it is extremely critical and appropriate to not only teach about them but how to treat others with a certain disability. In the workforce, you are going to be faced with a lot of different people not only of disability but of race, sexuality, religion, and so much more. It's so important to make others feel comfortable no matter who you are. I can't tell you how many situations I have been in where people will just stare at me or say stuff like, "Why are you using a wheelchair when you can walk? Are you just doing that for fun?" No. No, I am not.

My trainer and I were talking about this the other day and how uncultured people are about disabilities and how we want to change that because just as everyone else in this world, we too want to feel comfortable and accepted in all environments. Here are some of the most important things I want people to know about disabilities.

Treat everyone the same. People with disabilities are just people. Just like you.

Don't stare like we are aliens from another planet — newsflash, we were born on Earth just like all of you. Staring just makes me (and I'm sure a lot of other people) so uncomfortable and honestly, it's the worst thing you could possibly do. I know everyone is curious and nosy so if you are one of those people, go up and ask questions. I can't speak for everyone but I would be more than happy for you asking me questions versus looking at me crazy. Yes, we have a disability but we are just trying to live our lives like everyone else.

Yes, there is a difference between an intellectual disability and a physical disability.

We all are categized as a "disability" and a lot of people just cluster all of it together and stereotype what "disability" looks like, To someone who is in a chair, don't assume they can't talk or communicate with you. To someone who can't speak, don't assume they aren't smart or brilliant. An intellectual disability deals with the brain and motor functions. A physical disability is not limited to accidents, surgeries, MD, SMA etc.

Touching our medical equipment is inappropriate.

Unless you are my friend, don't touch my chair or go through my crap, especially if I don't know you. I know my chair is cool and all, but back off.

Good words/bad words

Good words: Disability, differently able, atypical, a person with a disability

Bad words: Girl in the wheelchair, cripple, not normal, broken, to "get better," handicapped, retarded, special

No explanation needed, just don't call me "special" or I will run you over in my chair.

"You are so inspiring and amazing, I want to be like you."

No, I really don't think you do. I'm a mess...lol. But to most of us, this is like a slap in the face. We are doing nothing out of the ordinary, just trying to live our best lives just like everyone else. Inspiring is like someone winning the Pulitzer Prize. Not having a disease.

You don't have to feel uncomfortable around us.

We are humans, too and are just living our lives a little differently. There is no reason why you should be uncomfortable with me. If you have questions, ask and get to know me before you judge my disability. Physical appearance is not the most important thing. My chair should not stop you from trying to be friends with me or talk to me. It should not even be apart of the equation. Plus if you're uncomfortable we can tell and we know more than you think we do!

These are just some of the things that have thrown me for a loop. There is a bunch more that I could talk about, I think the most important thing is don't let the disability of a person scare you or threaten you, we are just people — same as you, trying to live on this crazy world we call home.

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