By NERIDA LUCAS
There are many debates taking place at the moment between people with a disability and those without. These debates circle about with people to-and-fro’ing with their opinions and judgements. It’s great that the lines of communication are open but is any progress actually being made? Does stating our reactive emotions shake foundations? I’m not sure it does.
I am an honest, realistic, practical person. So here it goes…
Many people ask how to behave around a person with a disability, be it physical or intellectual. Here are a few tips.
My son is 10 years old and has Down Syndrome, Autism and ADHD (Hyperactivity). He is more normal than not. His disability is like a sheer veil around him that slightly alters his view of the world. It is not his whole and it is not who he is. He is a 10-year-old boy. He is not the lesser. The normal social protocols apply to us. Us being, him as a person with a disability and me as a woman who has a child with a disability.
Do not stare, it is rude. Do not allow your child to stare. If your child asks you a question or comments on the disability, answer it. Do not get embarrassed and run away, that is disrespectful to us. A simple ‘I have no idea’ or ‘it’s none of our business’ would suffice. I would prefer you tried to explain it rather than just ignore us.