“Observe and Think” – Before You Say Something Inappropriate To a Person With a Disability

“Observe and Think” - Before You Say Something Inappropriate To a Person With a Disability - Faithtoraisenate.com CharleneBullard.com PurposeDrivenCharlene.com
2 min read

Sometimes I wonder if our schools need a class to teach “appropriateness and etiquette.” A class to educate people on how to observe their surroundings and people, and think before they open their mouth to speak.

Not too long ago, a friend and I were shopping. She is visually impaired, and has to use a device or place objects close to her eyes to inspect them. As we were in line paying for our purchase, the cashier sarcastically commented, while laughing, “You can’t see or something. You have the phone close to your face.” My friend and I were offended and very upset.

Over the years, I have had the same experience with people, when out with my son. They ask me in a not-so-friendly tone and distain on their face, “What’s wrong with him?” They ask this question as they observe Nate walking, flapping, or having one of his self-stimming moments. I either say, “there is nothing wrong with my son,” with an attitude (because I’m upset). Or if I have time, I will educate them on his diagnosis, as I share with them that they should never ask that question, “What is wrong with” a person.

I often think to myself that by now, in our current year, in our world and society, where there are millions of individuals with disabilities, people have become aware of them. Maybe it is not a particular look, but people should be able to determine by certain actions that people navigate life differently. However, I am wrong, there are people who are not aware, they still don’t know what is correct or incorrect to say.

So, my suggestion is to make an observation. Look, but don’t stare. If you can’t determine the situation or you can’t ask appropriately, don’t say anything at all.

It is better not to say anything, then to say something rudely, offending a person with a disability.

Faithtoraisenate.com - CharleneBullard.com - Purposedrivencharlene.com



Related Post:

12 Things NOT to Say to a Parent of a Child With Special Needs – (Part 1)

12 Things NOT to Say to a Parent of a Child With Special Needs – (Part 2)

Please Like:




Add Yours
  1. 1

    We have so much diversity around us all the time. At Mass I have two,women with Parkinson’s, several with obvious mental illness, a couple of barely holding it together flapping boys, a,woman with cerebral palsy, some bent over osteoporosis affected, and seemingly “normal” PTSD me. Some is on the outside, some on the inside. God loves us all, thank goodness.

  2. 3

    Your friend and you have patience and are nice. As for me I would have said something to that woman. Something not very nice. I have a temper and a mouth on me. Years of abuse will make you tough.

    People give you the scissors to cut them. I have vision problems and I probably would have told that woman off if she had said that to me. I have experienced cruelty regarding both my brother and my long deceased mother from certain family members. As a result I no longer have a relationship with them. There is no excuse for bad behavior.

    • 4

      Yesss! I like your comment “People give you scissors to cut them” that’s funny!
      What’s interesting is that I tried to correct the cashier but she wasn’t getting it. My friend and I should have went to the manager or called headquarters.
      I would love to offer business sensitivity or appropriateness training. Then again it’s truly a heart issue with people.

  3. 5

    I understand completely as our oldest is intellectually disabled and during his younger years had difficulty communicating. I agree, people need to be more observant, understanding and less judgmental.

Comments/Feedback is Appreciated....