Communicating How You Want to Be Treated After A Disabling Injury
When you are newly disabled, whether through a spinal injury or traumatic brain injury, there are so many vital things to process and re-learn that figuring out where to start can seem very overwhelming. Today we are looking at tips on how to speak with someone who is disabled or what you can and should request in the behavior of those who speak to you. The following suggestions are thanks to Disapedia.com
- When talking to a person with a disability, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion who may be along.
- Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted common expressions such as “See you later” or “Got to be running along” that seem to relate to the person’s disability.
- To get the attention of a person with a hearing impairment, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, naturally and slowly to establish if the person can read lips. No all persons with hearing impairments can lip-read. Those who can will rely on facial expression and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by placing yourself facing the light source and keeping your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. Keep mustaches well trimmed. Shouting won’t help. Written notes may.
- When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, use a chair, whenever possible, in order to place yourself at the person’s eye level to facilitate conversation.
- When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you.
It takes time for the family and friends of someone with a disability to realize that they don’t need to tip-toe around you or to understand that your disability does not make you a wholly different person. It’s your right to request a respectful and equalizing communication process that takes into account any barriers that your disability may present.