One of the most frequent questions we encounter is how someone can more effectively support their friends, neighbors, and loved ones with disabilities. Although this topic may seem intimidating, we are pleased to say that real progress begins with a handful of simple actions.
1. Set Aside Your Assumptions. In order to learn, we must first accept that everyone views life through the lens of their own experiences. If we do not adequately understand the alternative techniques and skills that someone possesses, we cannot accurately gauge their capabilities.
2. Ask Before Attempting to Assist Someone. Autonomy is as important to us as it is to you. Bottom line, make sure your help is actually helpful.
3. Listen & Reflect. Let us communicate our needs and desires in the way that we prefer. Do your best to reflect our chosen language regarding our characteristics. If you feel uncertain, ask.
4. Support Our Fight for Equality. Whether its little things like supporting a nonprofit, or large initiatives such as advancing legislation; your support matters. Many of us subscribe to the motto, “ nothing about us without us”, but that doesn’t mean we want to fight these battles alone.
5. Remember Our Humanity. We are humans first, and everything else is secondary. Please don’t hyper focus on our perceived differences to the degree that you overlook how much we have in common. Allow us to shine as the full and complete individuals that we are.