People who live with disabilities often face fear, discomfort, and hostility at a rate that far exceeds that encountered by those who do have no disability. The vast majority of such treatment is rooted in a basic lack of understanding about the challenges that come with having a disability, and the experience of sharing the world with people who do not. People often seek to fill in gaps in their knowledge, and when information is lacking, confusion and even fear may result.
Anyone wishing to overcome this experience in themselves will be best served by first recognizing that a disability is a limited phenomenon. A physical disability may have a large impact on how an individual interacts with the physical word. A sensory disability may alter the gathering of information. These are conditions however, in no way prevent the individuals who live with them from having unique personalities, talents, knowledge, humor, and lives. People who live with disabilities have more in common than not with those who have no disability. We all share the same existence, and the same basic needs.
In order to establish a foundation, he top three considerations, as repeated in the vast majority of lists of disability etiquette concerns are:
- Ask if a person needs assistance before attempting to assist them. All people, whether or not they live with a disability, take pride in what they are able to do. Making any assumption about a person’s abilities in any given situation can rob them of this feeling.
- Speak directly to a person with a disability, even if he or she has an interpreter. While a person with a hearing impairment may have to look at an interpreter for communication, it is discouraging to everyone to be looked around or over when communicating with someone.
- Ask permission before touching and assistive device or service animal. These items and creatures are the tools that the user needs to live their life. They are very important, and very personal.