How to Talk about Disabilities


When you see someone with a physicial disability, do you find yourself unsure about how to talk with them and what's appropriate? Jacquie and I have experienced plenty of times when people were unsure what to say, or even more awkward, just avoid talking with Jacquie all together and talk directly to me. Even at a doctor's appointment, the doctor acted like she couldn't speak for herself and never asked her what she thought. She was young, and that was the day that I realized, after getting an earful after the appointment (and certainly deserved), that I needed to stop answering for her and make sure that she was included in conversations.


I found this very interesting interview with author Emily Ladau, who wrote, "Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally," where Ladau shares thoughts on how both nondisabled and disabled people can collectively make the world a more inclusive and accessible place.


This interview reminds me so much of so many of the conversations that Jacquie and I have had over the years as she has gone out in the community and has had many experiences. I strongly encourage you to spend 17 minutes to listen to Emily, and of course, purchase her book, to help to understand how to be more mindful. She also addresses transportation as a basic need, and it's not just about for the disabled community, but for anyone that easier access would support. For instance, someone with a broken leg, or a mother with a stroller, how about someone carrying something heavy. It's certainly worth the time!


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