Sunday, May 20, 2007

"Disability Do's and Don't's" Or Damn I Wish I'd Written This

I've fallen off the blogwagon somewhat lately, but I meant to post this a while ago. I'm in the middle of some world class procrastionation at the moment, avoiding important work-related tasks (ones that I'm being *paid* for no less), so of course I must catch up on blogging stuff!

The following is a post that the Ranter wrote at her blog, Disability Rants, a couple of months ago, and I thought it was so good and so important that I asked her if I could post the whole thing here. I can only add a resounding, "hell, yes" to all of her points. Please go and visit her blog as well, she has some fantastic posts.

"Disability Dos and Don'ts


1. Ask us what's wrong with us.
2. Ask us what happened to us.
3. Ask us how we do what we do.
4. Tell us we're awesome for doing the ordinary.
5. Think we're awesome for doing the ordinary.
6. Assume anything.
7. EVER try to freakin' push us before asking if we need help.
8. EVER try to freakin' push us after asking if we need help and we say no.
9. Swear at us when we get pissed off when you don't respect our answer, decision, space (pushing us without asking is as invasive as me going up to you and taking your briefcase out of your hand without asking when you don't know me from Bob).
9. Rush ahead to open doors for us.
10. Apologize for not having helped us in time when it seems we're doing just fine without you.
11. Say stupid things like "I should be doing that for you" when we reach the door first and hold it open for you.
12. EVER pat us on the freakin' head!
13. Ask us what disability we have before getting to know us.
14. Ask us anything disability related before getting to know us "just because you're curious". Who the hell are you, and how important do you think your curiousity is, freak?
15. Ask us if we play basketball.
16. Try to give us money (unless it's a cheque with 6 digits).
17. Tell us how freakin' brave we are unless we just fought a bear.
18. Address our companions when asking questions meant for us.
19. Ask "are you sure?" when we tell you we don't need help.
20. Ask "do you want to go out" if we happen to be sitting by a door.
21. Assume we like to listen to your problems coz we'll "understand" since obviously our lives have been hard like yours, right?
22. Assume that a physical, visual, auditory disability, speech impediment, or other means we couldn't possibly hold a Masters degree, good paying job, own a condo, drive a car, marry, have children, make decisions for ourselves.
23. Shout at us.


1. Use your freakin' common sense.
2. Talk to us.
3. Get to know us.
4. Listen.
5. Establish some sort of relationship before you ask us anything personal.
6. Allow us to be as independent as we can be.
7. Wait for us to ask for help.
9. Let us open the door for you if we reach it first.
10. Give us a chance before you come barging in to "rescue us".
11. Think twice before you open your mouth.
12. Ask us out for coffee.
13. See us as human beings.
14. See us as women or men.
15. Consider us as wives, husbands, partners, friends, lovers, intellectual equals
16. Relax.
17. Laugh.
18. Be open.
19. Remember that we have to deal with people like you every hour of every day."

The Ranter also added a few more in the comments:

24. Don't tell us we're going to get a speeding ticket.
25. Don't tell us we're good drivers.
26. Don't tell us how well we manage our wheelchairs.
27. Don't lean on our wheelchairs.


arielladrake said...

On one level, that's a great list. One another level, it's maddening that even half the stuff on the list needs to be said.

Philip. said...

I'll second ariella's comments!

seahorse said...

This is really, really refreshing and direct. Good to read, good to share experience

Melanie said...

12. EVER pat us on the freakin' head!

people DO that?! *boggle*

ps: is it ok to make "vroom vroom!" noises when pushing (with permission)? and tire squealing noises when going round corners? ;) i'm kidding, really. i know it depends entirely on the person and the context. my poor friend casey puts up with a lot of silliness from us and is very patient.