Increase Your Awareness
Disabilities are a part of some people’s life. Anyone, at any time, could acquire a disability. We see, read or hear about it almost every day. So, we must educate ourselves and learn what those with disabilities need us to understand:
- This is life for many and most of people do their best to enjoy their lives. No need to feel sorry.
- Don’t refer to the person as a disabled person or handicapped, a better term to use is person with a disability
- Just seeing the disability is wrong. They are people with different abilities.
- The person will always be who they are. What they like, feel, care about and know is not defined by the their challenges.
- We each have different frames of mind. Interact with the person, not the disability.
- Parking spaces are valuable. Using an accessible space when you don’t need it is highly frowned upon.
- Don’t push or touch a wheelchair unless you ask first. Some people may take offense of you trying to help, others may be grateful.
- Always respect personal space.
- Don’t ask a person in a wheelchair to hold things for you.
- When speaking at length with someone in a wheelchair, if available grab a seat or kneel down so you are on the same level and can hear you better.
- Always talking about the disability or referring to it is annoying and uncomfortable.
- Disabilities affect a person’s mental well-being and should not always be the topic of discussion.
- You don’t have to be scared, or feel you have to know the “right” thing to say. Being honest and real is enough.
- Although some may be physically constrained, that doesn’t mean they don’t have something to contribute, or ways in which they can be involved.
- Being involved and a part of everyday, regular life is important.
- Just because a person looks or appears like they don’t understand, doesn’t mean they don’t.
- Think before you speak and act.
So, you may be wondering, what’s the point or what’s my role in this? Simply understanding and seeking further knowledge about things you are not sure of is key. People with disabilities want to be treated as equals. This is why NMEDA is committed to broadening everyone’s knowledge base when it comes to disabilities. Our awareness campaign, National Mobility Awareness Month in May, helps show folks that seniors and people with disabilities can live active, mobile lifestyles – a need we understand. Through the National Mobility Month campaign, we are able to educate people on living with disabilities and, in turn, we hope that more people will become aware and spread the knowledge.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a wheelchair accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.