Being fully capable we undermine the abilities of disabled people and we perceive them as needy. We feel that they can hardly do anything. However, it is high time that we should reflect upon our behaviours towards differently-abled people because most of the time they do not really need help but general guidance.
We should be highly careful because, even the minutely unreasonable behaviour can also push them into depression which we do not want when India is about to be the depression capital.
The foremost thing we should keep in mind while helping them is to ask if they really need help or not.
We need to understand that they know themselves more than we do and hence offering them help every time can put down their self-esteem. One should never handshake with them until they extend the hand themselves.
Never assume anything about them, the conversation about their needs to be clear and unambiguous. We should never call them with the words like ‘blind’, ‘deaf’, etc. Instead, we should refer to them as someone who cannot see or cannot hear. We should be polite in our tone whenever we talk to them. While treating a blind person we should call out their names or touch their arm so that they can know whom we are talking to if we are in a crowded place.
We should make eye contact while speaking to a deaf person. Never get anxious or troubled when they cannot parse something. Instead, rephrase or reemphasize politely if they need it. One must not hesitate from writing on paper or drawing whatever they want to convey to the person.
Try to use more gestures and expressions with a smile on your face. Patience is of utmost importance while dealing with a person who cannot hear. Avoid saying“Never mind, it is not important.” Use devices around you to make them understand.
Complex sentences are sometimes hard to parse by them so use simple sentences, keep your pace slow giving them enough time to make sense out of it. While in public transport give them a seat. And lastly never forget to give them some personal space. We might not want to leave them alone thinking that they might need us anytime.
However, just as we require some “me time”, differently-abled person also need some personal space and we should respect that.
At the end,do not forget,
“Abled does not mean enabled. Disabled does not mean less abled.” –Khang Kijarro Nguyen