What do some people think when they hear the word “disability”? Some people make the assumption that people with disabilities live a poor quality of life while others may assume that individuals with disabilities are unhealthy. Some people in society assume individuals with disabilities won’t be able to own a home, drive a car, go to college, gain employment, have a relationship, or get married and have kids.
Why do people in society make these assumptions about people with disabilities?
Sometimes there is a lack of understanding. In other words, an individual without a disability may not put themselves in the shoes of an individual with a disability. For example, while one might acknowledge seeing someone that is legally blind, they don’t acknowledge the difficulties of being legally blind in which the individual without a disability is not able to empathize. Unfortunately, there are some people in society that are not aware of or educated about disabilities; another example of this is misunderstanding autism spectrum disorders (ASD). While there are some people in society that learn about ASD, it does not mean they have the lived experiences to recognize the challenges that these individuals endure daily. Someone’s experience with disability is different from the next person’s, and no two disabled people are exactly the same.
When interacting with people with disabilities, people should take to heart and remember the key points below:
Ask someone with a disability if they need help, but do not assume
Speak clearly, listen, and directly to people with disabilities
Remember that people with disabilities have strengths, interests, and hobbies just like people without disabilities
People with disabilities have the right to the same benefits and opportunities in society as people without disabilities