It is quite understandable how most people get awkward or nervous when forced to interact with people with disabilities. There is always the constant fear of feeling that what you might say or do will be considered offensive or condescending, or that offering assistance might insult them even if you are only trying to help. This can truly be a very uncomfortable situation which you can handle better. There are a lot of ways you can handle being around people with disabilities without them having ill feelings.

Consider that they have learned to take care of themselves

Living with a disability leaves people no choice but to adapt to their condition, so they are typically independent and can handle themselves in manageable situations. Some could be well-adjusted than others, since those who acquired a disability through accidents could take longer time in accepting and dealing with their situation. Most people with isabilitis can do a lot of things on their own, and grow to live at peace with their fate. They also continue to find ways to improve their lives in spite of being strapped on to wheelchairs or walkers.  Keep in mind that continually looking out for them the whole time could make them feel belittled or inferior, so just check up on them and offer help only when you think they need it.

Be considerate

The most important thing is not to ignore these people as they might have needs that they might need help with. There is no harm in asking if they need assistance – be helpful and attentive and follow their lead. If they decline your offer, don’t insist. This is important because if you continue to press them, they could be offended. Again, this could make them feel small and useless, and in no way can help as a social anxiety cure. Just know when your behavior is acceptable, and learn how to interact with them better by simply being considerate.

Be patient

Of course, people with disabilities will take longer time than most people would in public facilities, so let them take their time and go easy on them. Don’t make noises that would turn their attention to people like you who are rushing or are in a hurry. You should adjust to their needs, and not have them adjust to yours. Don’t mutter under your breath because they are not deaf. They will finish the fastest way they can, so don’t pressure them.

Ask the people you know about what they prefer

The best way to know how people with disabilities like to be dealt with is asking those you know about how they feel about certain actions or behavior around them. A lot of general rules can apply for most of them, so find out about how they deal with certain situations themselves, or how they respond to people trying to help them. They could suggest ways for you to assist and interact with people with disabilities, so keep these in mind and apply it whenever you can.
Coming across people with disabilities might be hard at first, but dealing with them will only get better once you know how to communicate and respond to their needs. They will not be out and about if they can’t do things alone, but you can't be blamed for trying to be polite. Be inspired by their strength and don’t make them feel any less than they are because they can probably do more than you think they are capable of.

 

Article written by Ryan Riviera:

"Ryan Rivera is an anxiety specialist that has written countless tips for managing stress and anxiety. He has a website dedicated to anxiety disorders and treatments at www.calmclinic.com."