As a person with a disability, I’ve come across people asking and telling pretty crazy things to me just because of my disability. And, I’m not an exception in any manner. People with any type of disability keep on encountering awkward questions, suggestions, and statements. These awkward words often turn offensive, even if you don’t intend them to be. So, spare a few moments and read on to know what not to say to a disabled person. Believe me; these suggestions will help you grow as a mature citizen of an inclusive society.
Before going deep into this topic, let’s give you a rule of thumb – keep the person before her disability. If you understand that disability is just a part of that person’s identity and not the entire identity; you’ll automatically know what to say and what not to say.
Without any further ado, let’s start the counting.
Don’t Say These Things to a Disabled Person
You are really an inspiration!
Hold on! A person does not become an inspiration just by being a person with a disability. You can praise a disabled person for their achievements (if they have some) but don’t praise them for getting up and doing their daily chores like you and everybody else does.
It feels so good to see you happy and living a normal life.
Don’t you realize while saying this you are hinting that a person with disability ought not to be happy or live a normal life? Do you say this to every smiling person? No! Then why us?
I never see you as a disabled, I see you as a person.
Your intentions while saying this might be good, but, your sentence does not reflect that goodness. It’s quite possible to be disabled and a person at the same time. Don’t tell me that I can’t be a person if I am disabled.
A bad attitude is the only disability. You can do whatever you set your mind to.
May be you wanted to give me some motivation, but, your statement is blaming my attitude for not being able to do some tasks. There are disabilities other than a bad attitude and the affected person has no choice to take that disability out of their life. It is as simple as that.
Don’t make your disability an excuse. That person (any disabled achiever) too has the same disability.
The first thing you need to understand that what looks ‘same’ to you might actually be very different in reality. Physical strengths and weaknesses vary greatly even among the persons afflicted with the same kind of disability. Second and more important thing… majority of the human population are the same physically, but not everyone can be Usain Bolt. Same is the case with disabled achievers; they are different from the masses.
You are reaping your past life deeds.
Who actually told you this? Were you the one appointed to calculate my good and bad deeds?
If I was like you, I don’t think I could carry on with this life.
Are you seriously telling me on my face that my life is not worth living? Aren’t you passively pushing me to do suicide? A life with a disability has challenges (so does the life without disability) but it does not mean that the person has nothing good in life.
It’s good you’ve got something to do. At least you can keep your mind occupied.
Why do you have to assume that a person with a disability works to keep their mind occupied or pass their time? The reason we invest our time in professional life is exactly the same as anybody else.
You should not opt for marriage; it will be too big of a responsibility for you to manage.
Why do you think you can take a better life decision for the persons with disabilities? And, who gave you the right to measure a person’s capability of managing their responsibilities?
Why don’t you order things online? Why do you take so much trouble to get out of your house and come to stores or restaurants?
Don’t you think the person too knows that stuff can be ordered online? Why do you have to suggest persons with disabilities to stay confined in their homes?
One of the common message from the above points is that if you can’t encourage a person with disability; you should, at least, not discourage her from doing.
These are just a few examples. I can go on extending this list because we, the people with disabilities are constantly bombarded with such crazy comments and suggestions that put a question mark on our identity as a human being. Let’s start accepting each other with our differences and create a better world for everybody.
As a person with disability, if you also have come across similar comments — do let us know. We will add that to the list. Thank you for connecting with WeCapable!