Compassion around disability

I find it difficult to watch all documentaries that involve disability, not because I’m afraid to watch, but because I feel bad watching those who like me were born with a disability. I know what they feel because I feel it too.

Although there is still a stigma around disability I think more of us should ‘practice compassion around disability.’ We’re no different to anyone else. Yes, we may present slightly differently, walk and talk differently, but we bleed and feel pain in the same way everyone else does. That makes us the same.

The saying, ‘treat others how you would want to be treated,’ comes to mind. Always think before you speak around anyone with a disability so that you understand what they need from you. Always ask before giving assistance, not all people with a disability want or need assistance. Avoid showing pity or being patronising.

Do we get that right? Not everyone knows how to treat or be around disabled people. They may often find it difficult to look at or make eye contact with them. They don’t always know what to say, or how to say it. People genuinely aren’t comfortable with disability. They don’t know how to be, there’s a slight awkwardness to the whole disability concept.

But maybe that’s it. Disability isn’t talked about like it should. When I was growing up disability was taboo. Yes, society is doing slightly better, but we’re still considered broken. Disability is something to be encouraged and so everyone understands how to behave and interact.

Society still isn’t great at inclusion, but disability has always been here. It is being championed more by many people including members of the British Royal Family, but disability needs to be part of the landscape and needs to be considered normal.


2 Feb, 2018

4 thoughts on “Compassion around disability

  1. Incredible, how people with disabilities navigate their way through a barrage of insults without getting completely livid.

    But I think people actually see themselves in people with disabilities, afraid to look in the mirror and have the mirror return the stare.

    It’s simply about respecting our differences, from one human being to another, compassionately.

    1. Thanks Tim. You’re response sums up the blog completely and yes, you’re absolutely correct.

      I think we’re all afraid to look in the mirror and accept we’re flawed. We’d also rather pass the buck, than admit we’re less than perfect.

      ‘It’s simply about respecting our differences, from one human being to another compassionately.’ Absolutely. The world needs more of it.

  2. Generally speaking, society as a whole thinks disability is becoming more normalized. But, often times you see portrayals of various aspects of disability discussed or played out by someone without a disability.

    It’s essential to include people with a disability when discussing and advocating for disability inclusion/awareness etc. there’s still such a long ways to go.

    1. Thanks LeAnna. Yes, it’s as though we’re invisible. We’re there, but there is little direct inclusion. It’s also as though people are afraid to talk to us, for fear of upsetting or putting a foot wrong.

      Disability does need to be normalised as do other forms of discrimination. As you rightly say there is still ‘a long way to go.’

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