- Do not talk about an obviously disabled person in front of them as if they can’t hear or understand you.
- Do not talk to a disabled person’s companion instead of them.
- Ask permission before touching people, or their wheelchairs/other equipment. Even if you want to help.
- Ask disabled people about their lives and really listen to their answers. (Within reason. Asking people personal questions about their sex lives, for example, is rude unless you are very close to them and they’ve communicated they’re OK with that).
- Listen to what they say whether they are speaking, writing, typing, using text to speech, using a letterboard, using PECS, gesturing, using sign language, or using any other form of communication. People who cannot speak can still communicate.
- Stand up for people you see getting bullied.
- Understand that disabled people don’t just need friends, they can be friends, too.
- Every public place does not need to have loud, blaring music and TVs with flashing screens.
- If you blog, put bright, flashing images that can trigger seizures under a cut so that people with seizures can avoid looking at them.
- If a job can possibly be done without a person driving, don’t require candidates to drive/have a driver’s license, and don’t interview candidates and then reject them because they don’t drive.
- When talking to someone who has trouble speaking or stutters, and takes a long time to speak, wait for them to answer. Don’t keep repeating the question or pressuring them. Yes, if you’re like me and your mind is going really fast and you forget what people are saying if they take too long, it can be hard to be patient. Do it anyway.
- If you are talking to a deaf person, make it easier for them to lip-read by facing towards them while looking at them, and not covering your mouth with your hands.
- If you are talking to someone with hearing impairment or auditory processing disorder, it is more helpful to slow down or rephrase what you’re saying than to just speak more loudly.
- Some disabled people have difficulty understanding nonliteral language such as metaphors and idioms (e.g., “a stitch in time saves nine”). If you’re talking to someone like this, try explaining what you mean by these figures of speech, or just not using them.
- Recognize that failure to make eye contact does not mean someone is lying to you. It may be uncomfortable for them.
- Recognize that unwillingness to go out to loud, crowded bars does not mean someone isn’t interested in socializing with you.
- If people have difficulty spelling, or using the appropriate jargon/terminology for your social group, do not assume they’re stupid. You may need to paraphrase some “jargon” for them.
- Recognize that a person can need time alone and it doesn’t mean they don’t like you or want to be with you. It’s just something they need so they can function at their best.
- If a person does not recognize you, do not assume they don’t care about you. They may be face-blind.
- If a person does not remember your birthday (or other major names, numbers, or dates) do not assume they don’t care about you. They may simply have a bad memory.
- Understand that a disabled person’s talents, however esoteric, are real, not unimportant “splinter skills.”
- Colorblindness affects more than just knowing what color something is. To a colorblind person, colors that they can’t see will look the same if they have the same degree of lightness/darkness. That means that to a red-green colorblind person, a red rose on a green background will blend in instead of contrast starkly, and the Chicago CTA El map will be difficult to understand. Understand that something that stands out to you and seems obvious may literally not be visible to a colorblind person.
- Accept stimming.
- Don’t tell them “but you look so normal.” But, if they accomplish something you know they were working really hard to do, it’s great to compliment them on it.
- Understand that a person can be working incredibly hard to do something and may still not perform as well as you’d like them to, as well as the average person would, or as well as the situation demands.
- If someone has a major medical problem, disability, or chronic illness, then just eating some special healthy diet or exercising more isn’t going to cure it. It might help, it might hurt, it might do nothing, but they’ve probably heard it before, and it’s none of your business in any case.
- A person with OCD knows that checking or counting or whatever compulsion they perform won’t really prevent disaster from happening, it’s just a compulsion. That doesn’t stop them from feeling the need to do it anyway. A person with anxiety may know at least some of their fears are irrational or unlikely to occur. That doesn’t stop them from feeling anxious. A person with trichotillomania may know it hurts them to pull out their hair or pick at their skin, but they have trouble stopping themselves anyway. A depressed person may know they would feel better if they got out of their house and talked to people, but that doesn’t make them feel any more up to doing those things. A person who hallucinates may know the hallucinations aren’t real, but that doesn’t make them go away or feel less upsetting. You see the pattern? You can’t cure people with mental illnesses by telling them they’re being irrational or hurting themselves. If it were that easy, they’d have cured themselves already.
- Do not tell a person with ADHD or mental illness that they should not be taking medication. This is a personal decision. Furthermore, since medications have wide-ranging effects on people’s bodies and minds and often unpleasant side effects, most people taking medications have thought through the issue, done a cost-benefit analysis, and decided that the ability to function better is worth it. Their decision should be respected.
- A disabled person with intellectual disability who has the academic or IQ abilities of, say, a seven year old does not actually have the mind of a seven year old. They have different life experiences, needs, stages of life, bodies, and so on.
- If a disabled person is having a meltdown, they are not angry, they are terrified. They’re not throwing a tantrum or being aggressive, they have gone into fight or flight. The best thing you can do is remain calm yourself and help them calm down. It may help to keep your distance, keep your voice low and calm, let them retreat to a safe place if they know to do that, or remind them to do so if they don’t. Reasoning with them won’t work well because they’re unlikely to be able to hear and understand you. The worst thing you can do is start yelling yourself, threatening them, be violent to them, cut off their escape route, or get right up in their personal space.
Other ideas? Please reblog and add more. The more the merrier.
Do. Not. Touch. The. Service. Animal.
No, I don’t care how cute the dog is. Don’t touch them.
Don’t talk to the dog more than you talk to the person.
Don’t try to sneak a pet in after the owner has expressly said not to. You’re not subtle. We fucking see you.
On the medication one, stopping medications without weaning off them properly can cause really intense withdrawal systems. Don’t pressure people to stop taking their meds.
The term disabilities is broad. Can somebody make several posts highlighting on specific disabilities? It’d be easier to read and understand.