Kristy Mandigo Kinkor
Awareness is not a one time thing
Disability Awareness it’s not the check mark or a passing grade. It often becomes a one time event at work or school. In the real world you encounter individuals with disabilities everywhere and it is very easy to offend those with disabilities that works so hard to overcome and integrate into every day society. Disabilities are not a one size fits all and they are ever-changing. One thing to remember is that often those that overcome struggles can achieve very challenging problems that others may overlook. By discounting their thought process and way of thinking would be a shame not just for you but the project you’re working on or a solution that you may not even see.
Find a way to be flexible, and learn to be open to possibilities that might seen “far-out”. However, remember the best way to interact with anyone disabled or not disabled is to approach them as an equal, or “like everyone else”. Treat people like people”. If they need or want you to do something different to accommodate their disability, they will let you know. But don’t ask a disabled person personal questions about their disability, that is rude and unfeeling. Do people ask you questions about why you walk with two legs or YU type with two hands? Bottom line, unless you are a close friend or relative, or have a specific professional need to ask, don’t…. Don’t expect every disabled person you meet to “educate” you about disability. Some disabled people are happy to do that. It’s a kind of personal mission for them. I’m one of those people…
But many if not most prefer to just get on with their day, and don’t appreciate being pressured to offer free labor — the effort it takes to teach a random stranger how to treat disabled people with respect.