Being disability aware means taking a look at your current perceptions about people with disabilities and being more mindful of how you think and act around them.
People with visible disabilities may look different – some may use wheelchairs or other mobility devices; some may use canes and service or guide dogs; some may have facial qualities such a cleft palette or a skin condition, or display the visual effects of medication, such as a tremor.
Sometimes, people with disabilities notice people staring at them, or notice the opposite – people looking away or pretending they aren’t even there. They see the disability, not the person.
The more mindful we are in trying to understand the experience of having a disability, the more we can help break down the long-held social stigmas about what people with disabilities are like and what they can do. And we can create truly inclusive relationships and communities.
When you meet or interact with someone with a disability, are you worried about how to act or what to say? Here are three easy things you can do to be more disability aware:
Here’s an awesome PSA video by the District of Columbia’s Office of Disability Rights that explains how you can interact with people with disabilities and “End the Awkward.”
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