Thursday, March 22, 2007

Disability Dos and Don'ts


1. Ask us what's wrong with us.
2. Ask us what happened to us.
3. Ask us how we do what we do.
4. Tell us we're awesome for doing the ordinary.
5. Think we're awesome for doing the ordinary.
6. Assume anything.
7. EVER try to freakin' push us before asking if we need help.
8. EVER try to freakin' push us after asking if we need help and we say no.
9. Swear at us when we get pissed off when you don't respect our answer, decision, space (pushing us without asking is as invasive as me going up to you and taking your briefcase out of your hand without asking when you don't know me from Bob).
9. Rush ahead to open doors for us.
10. Apologize for not having helped us in time when it seems we're doing just fine without you.
11. Say stupid things like "I should be doing that for you" when we reach the door first and hold it open for you.
12. EVER pat us on the freakin' head!
13. Ask us what disability we have before getting to know us.
14. Ask us anything disability related before getting to know us "just because you're curious". Who the hell are you, and how important do you think your curiousity is, freak?
15. Ask us if we play basketball.
16. Try to give us money (unless it's a cheque with 6 digits).
17. Tell us how freakin' brave we are unless we just fought a bear.
18. Address our companions when asking questions meant for us.
19. Ask "are you sure?" when we tell you we don't need help.
20. Ask "do you want to go out" if we happen to be sitting by a door.
21. Assume we like to listen to your problems coz we'll "understand" since obviously our lives have been hard like yours, right?
22. Assume that a physical, visual, auditory disability, speech impediment, or other means we couldn't possibly hold a Masters degree, good paying job, own a condo, drive a car, marry, have children, make decisions for ourselves.
23. Shout at us.


1. Use your freakin' common sense.
2. Talk to us.
3. Get to know us.
4. Listen.
5. Establish some sort of relationship before you ask us anything personal.
6. Allow us to be as independent as we can be.
7. Wait for us to ask for help.
9. Let us open the door for you if we reach it first.
10. Give us a chance before you come barging in to "rescue us".
11. Think twice before you open your mouth.
12. Ask us out for coffee.
13. See us as human beings.
14. See us as women or men.
15. Consider us as wives, husbands, partners, friends, lovers, intellectual equals
16. Relax.
17. Laugh.
18. Be open.
19. Remember that we have to deal with people like you every hour of every day.

Carry on.


Book Girl said...

Brilliant. Just brilliant. May I repost this in full at my blog with credit and a link back here? (I want to make sure people *read* it even if they don't follow the link)

And this:"19. Remember that we have to deal with people like you every hour of every day." is so important for people to know - they don't get that they are the fifty millionth person that has done/asked/said whatever it is. We are all far saner than we have any right to be, under the circumstances!

Ranter said...

Absolutely you can repost this. I forgot a few though (I probably forgot way more than a few)...

24. Don't tell us we're going to get a speeding ticket.
25. Don't tell us we're good drivers.
26. Don't tell us how well we manage our wheelchairs.
27. Don't lean on our wheelchairs.


imfunnytoo said...

I had linked to it as well...this one made me so happy I wanted to break out the wine and the French bread and celebrate...missing the wine and the French bread, but celebrated anyhow.

You rock.

Philip said...

Great post - really great.

If you don't mind I too will add it to my blog.

Keep up the ranting!


lrcamargo said...

don't: say "everything happens for a reason"

if i had a nickel for every time someone told me that

don't: tell me a story about how your cousin's-best-friend's-girlfriend once got into an accident giving gory details and no happy ending

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wish that I could carry a little card that says "eff you" to hand over to people who have no idea why my 4 year is still being carried, still riding in a buggy, walking with difficulty, etc. and offer me gratuitous comment that he is too old/too big to be however he is (when in fact he has a bone disease) . . . Does anyone out there ever hand out such a card to a not particularly well-meaning stranger? My alternative idea is to carry a card describing the disease and asking that concerned persons donate to applicable foundation . . . thoughts?

kjm said...
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Ranter said...

It's a tough call. Personally, I wouldn't hand out the card asking for people to donate to organizations, because that would reinforce the pity factor. Not that donating is a bad thing, it's not at all, I just don't think handing a card is the way to do it in that particular situation. I don't know. I don't think any reaction matters. There are a lot of people out there who just don't and won't get it. Period.

Liz said...

Oh this is so beautiful! Thank you! I have been making this sort of list a lot lately and this morning, ranted on my blog. And then went looking for other people online and found this, first thing!

Here's mine,

We should combine them and make a handy postcard-sized guide. I have been thinking of making one and just handing it to anyone who says or does one of the annoying (& alienating) things on the list.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff - will be using this (as other visitors have also indicated)to educate the ignorant majority!
Thanks for making a difference,
Sue (Australia)

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OrbitalDiamonds said...

This is fantastic and I'll definitely be linking to it.

They're all very important, but I think #19 of the second list is the most important for people who haven't given disabilty issues much thought.

Bimal Thomas said...

people will understand how to interact with disabled ones!!!!