Give Them the Love and Care That They Need
Interacting with those who have accessibility needs is never easy — not because what someone is going through is making us uncomfortable but because people are usually trying to do the right thing, except that they don’t know how.
What Does This Mean?
Usually, out of empathy and good manners, people try to give their best not to intentionally hurt anyone with special needs. Unfortunately, most of them end up doing just that because they adopt a very patronizing and condescending attitude towards their interlocutors.
This often happens due to their lack of knowledge on how to talk with the person without hurting their feelings or coming across as superior. Typically, everyone will tell you that socializing with them should be no different than your other social interactions, but for those who aren’t familiar with a particular issue, such an attitude doesn’t always go as planned.
BriteLift’s team of trained professionals has worked with people with an issue for a number of years and in interacting with the patients as well as with their friends and family — we have witnessed people break down emotionally, completely hopeless, desperate, and clueless about the way they should act around those they love.
On the other hand, there have also been many cases of families going from very uncomfortable interactions to building healthy, beautiful relationships thanks to being open to personal growth, adaptation, and ultimately, change.
In such difficult situations, problems like finding non-emergency transportation or wheelchair-accessible rides become irrelevant because the focus is on the self and rebuilding relationships.
In that manner, here are 5 ways people happen to grow in interacting with those who have special needs (maybe you’ll find the strength in yourself to do the same).
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You Become More Compassionate and Understanding
In communicating and interacting with the person, you need to understand what they’re going through first before “making your move.”
If you are talking to someone with such conditions, be patient enough to let them finish a sentence, even if it lasts longer than anticipated. Try not to send rude body signals (rolling your eyes, sighing, getting angry, etc.) or verbal ones (i.e., hurrying them up or finishing their sentences). Asking about their issue is okay, as long as you are respectful of it. How to show kindness to people with concerns that affect their quality of life mustn’t be an issue.
You Learn To Put Your Ego Aside
Furthermore, if it happens that you cannot understand the person you are talking to, ask them to repeat the thing or consult with someone close to them to help you understand. Always double-check what you think you heard. Don’t yell or curse at them, or spank them because you are eager for them to speed things up. Any form of physical or emotional abuse is out of the question! Understand that those who have special requirements aren’t doing things to spite you. It’s who they are, and you need to adjust to them. If things were the other way around, they’d do the same for you.
You Learn Patience
These days, everything’s hectic, from the way we eat breakfast to the way we date and close business deals. And, for the most part, that works fine. However, for those who face issues of their own, this pace is impossible. Not because they don’t want to honor it but because they can’t.
In communicating with concerns on accessibility and the like, whether they’ve got a physical or mental issue, patience is crucial. Although it will take you time to adjust to their pace (instead of forcing them to adapt to yours), you’ll eventually become comfortable with it. Not everything has to be done now, and the people who can’t do things now are the best to learn from.
You Learn to Put Others First
For everyone who’s in regular communication with a person with disabilities, things drastically change from “me” to “you.” Naturally, the fact that such a person is a part of your life doesn’t mean putting yourself second at all times; it only means adapting to the circumstance, putting yourself in their shoes for a second and growing to understand what they may be feeling.
Keep being a priority to yourself but try not to be egocentric about it. If you are helping such a person, help because you want to. Don’t ever downplay what they’re going through or constantly remind them that you are helping. Instead of saying “See what I’m doing for you!” or “You are so lucky to have me as your friend/spouse/etc.” say something more compassionate like “I am so happy we’re doing this together and that I can help.” The person you are helping KNOWS you are helping and they’re grateful. It’s just your ego that needs a positive affirmation of your “good deed,” isn’t it?
You Learn to See the Bigger Picture
Not all that people go through are visible, and you’ll learn that in time. One of the most common things that happen is people getting angry with someone parking in the accessible spot while looking able-bodied. The next thing they’d do is confront them only to learn that the person did actually have disabilities, although not one many could see. The best attitude to adopt is to be kind, compassionate, and considerate in communication with everyone.
Someone who needed a cane yesterday may need a wheelchair today. That doesn’t mean they are faking. There are good days and bad days and, as someone who needs neither a cane nor a wheelchair, you need to learn to understand these things
A Few More Words
Interacting with those who have special needs is helping you grow in more ways than you know. Apart from becoming a better, more patient, and more compassionate individual yourself, you are also setting a great example for your little ones and everyone around you. Until BriteLift’s next blog post: stay compassionate and contact BriteLift at 847-792-1212 for your next non-emergency medical transportation!