Asking is a great way to learn about our environment, the people we interact with, and so much more. When interacting with a person with a disability, if you’re unsure how to approach a certain topic or situation, it is usually best to just ask them.
Acknowledge Their Ability to Choose
You can ask a person if they need help reaching or carrying something. You can ask a person with a hearing loss if they can read your lips, or would like to use a pen and paper. You can ask a person with vision loss if they need assistance navigating a room. These are all questions that many people with disabilities would appreciate, as it tells them you understand they are an individual with a right to choice.
Help Your Children Learn
As well, don’t discourage children from asking questions. It is not uncommon for a child to point at a person in a scooter or wheelchair, and ask why they use it. Children are naturally curious about the things that make people different, and that is okay. Let children be curious, and instead of shushing them, help them learn how to ask questions with tact and respect.
Do not be surprised, however, if people do not want to answer personal questions about their disability. Questions such as, “What is your disability?”or “How did you get your disability?”can be considered personal, and are not something people are always willing to openly discuss. Of course, if you are curious about their disability and want to know if it’s okay to ask these questions, ask them!