Whether it is at work or in the community, physically-challenged people suffer stigma from their peers and others. Even when they do their stuff, they may lack self-esteem because of the way they perceive or feel people thinking about their nature. But being physically-disabled is not the same as lacking abilities in other aspects. They are differently-abled.
Providing support for such people in the community is vital, but without an understanding, they may not welcome the support you would like to offer them. Whether it is your workmate or someone in your neighborhood, you have to ensure that you do not get a negative attitude from the recipient of your help.
These seven tips will help you to better provide extend your hand to the differently-abled members of the society, workgroup, or strangers.
1. Start by Asking and Understanding
You may think that somebody needs your help, but at that moment, they do not. More often than not, the disabled learn to maneuver on their own and do stuff by themselves. Before offering them help, they will have to consent to your request to do the same.
When you meet your colleague trying to move around, you would want to help them. But ask them first. When they answer, ask them how you can help. Do not assume that you know anything. Let them describe what they are trying to do, and how you can help them do it better.
2. Be a Good Listener, Speak Audibly
Various differently-abled people have distinct needs. Some of them may have cognition challenges. Slow communication may cause more confusion than facilitating the process. You will have to be a good listener as you talk with such people when anticipating to offer help.
While speaking, make sure that your help recipient can hear you clearly. Being audible is essential, but using clear terms will help them understand more about what you mean. With clear communication, it is easy to understand each other, and they will be eager to let you extend your hand.
3. Help Where Accessibility is Required
Getting around may be the main challenge for most physically-impaired people. For instance, they would want to go upstairs, but they are electric wheelchair users. Some environments neglect or forget to include accessibility to physically-challenged people. Such people will gladly want your help to get to the office they intend.
Ask them how long they anticipate to stay at the place they are visiting. You can offer to help them go up and to come back down on the stairs with their wheelchair. But, if possible, you would want to find an alternative way for them to avoid the stairs to access the office they need.
4. Spend Time Together
Do you have spare time? You can spend your evenings or weekends with someone disabled in your community. Some of the differently-abled people stay lonely because people do not want to associate with them or spend time with them. According to many people, the differently-abled have little to nothing to offer, and spending time together will benefit them nothing – everyone is self-centered.
By spending time together, you get to learn and understand the person better. This allows you to understand what they like and what they do not. To provide your support, it is ideal to know their needs, abilities, and preferences. That will require you to concentrate on the specifics, and you can only understand the person better when you have some quality time together.
5. Support Their Dreams
Differently-abled people also have ambitions and goals to achieve. However, so many people do not consider helping such people to be self-established. Having physical-challenges does not mean that they cannot work. They can devote their time better because there are not so many other activities they will be indulging in.
Instead of leaving such people to be dependent on others, you can invest in their future. For instance, paying their college fees can help them to acquire skills that many innovative establishments need in their businesses. And that will empower the person to take up such challenges and grow their career dreams. You can as well set up a small business for the person so that they can stay self-dependent.
6. Help with Manual Work
Some of the things the differently-abled persons have difficulty in doing are their daily chores at home. Depending on their condition, they may have trouble moving about and doing basic tasks like cleaning or feeding their animals.
You would be of great help to them by doing various tasks around the house. You can, for example, set aside a day in a week to go and do laundry for the differently-abled person to reduce their burden of having to hire a cleaner.
7. Practice Patience when Addressing Them
Differently-abled people are quite sensitive. You must know how to handle them. For instance, some of them are slow in speech and learning. You have to be patient with them to get accurate answers. Avoid rushing them with your questions and expecting instant answers.
If you get irritated rather quickly, you had better start teaching yourself to stay patient. Be keen not to respond harshly or harass the person when speaking with them. Ask patiently and make sure you understand what you are supposed to do before you embark on the support you are offering.
Differently-abled people need our attention and support – either in the community or at our workplace. Whether they are our workmates or office visitors, it is prudent to learn about their needs and provide appropriate support. While doing so, understanding the person is essential, and you have to communicate clearly to make the process easy.
To avoid trouble, do not assume that the physically-challenged need your help as you perceive them. You will avoid embarrassment by inquiring first of how you can help. It might turn out that the person you think needs your help is quite comfortable with how they handle their lives alone.