How to Provide Assistance to People with Disabilities
I’ve wanted to show you this for awhile, but I couldn’t find it. It’s amazing what turns up when you’re sifting through 130 pages of e-mails in order to complete a resume.
The below guidelines were originally designed for teachers and staff who have to manage students on the autistic spectrum. But they apply equally well to any professional or non-professional who has to provide assistance to anyone with a disability.
1. Treat disabled people as individuals.
2. Be curious.
3. Ask them what their needs are, and listen. If the disabled person is a minor, also ask their caretaker(s) what their child’s needs are, and listen to them.
4. Respect them. Remember that everyone thinks they respect disabled people, including those who don’t.
5. Every individual is different. Every individual requires different treatment.
6. Like everyone else, disabled people have complicated lives, much of which you’ll know nothing about. This will affect your interactions with them.
7. Know what you don’t know, and act accordingly.
8. The problem isn’t within disabled people. The problem is around them.