Respect For Those With Disabilities

Henry (2007) explains; one reason that some people are uncomfortable around people with disabilities is that they’re afraid that they will “say the wrong thing”. However, that’s not a big deal to most people with disabilities. What’s important is that you respect the person and see them beyond their disability (Henry, 2007, p. 2). Henry (2007) also gives an example of the un-comfortableness that one can feel when trying to find the right words to say; In the movie “I am Sam”, the main character, Sam, is an adult with a developmental disability. An initially insensitive attorney says to Sam: “I need that list of names from you—people who can testify that you’re a good father despite your handicap.” “I didn’t mean your handicap, I meant your disability.” “The fact that you’re retarded.” “That’s not the right word.” “I don’t know what to call you!” To which he replies: “Sam, You can call me Sam” (Henry, 2007, pp. 3-4).

Henry (2007) states that; one basic question many people have is: “What is appropriate terminology”, for example, disability, impairment, or handicap? When you’re working with someone, you can ask what terminology he or she prefers. When you’re speaking in public or writing, you’ll need to do a little research to ensure that you use widely-accepted terminology and avoid potentially offensive terminology (Henry, 2007, p. 4). According to Henry (2007); the most important thing to know when interacting with people with disabilities is that they are people. And just like all people, they are very different and unique, including being different in how they are with disability issues (Henry, 2007, p. 4). Some people prefer different terms, some get very upset about terminology, and some don’t care. Some people get very upset about accessibility barriers and lash out at those responsible; some are very patient with accessibility barriers and are appreciative and supportive of people and organizations that are trying to fix barriers. Some people really appreciate the opportunity to talk about their disability and educate people about accessibility issues, and others don’t like to talk about it at all. After you know someone a little, you might ask, “I’m curious about your using a wheelchair. Are you comfortable talking about it, or would you prefer not to?” (Henry, 2007, p. 4).


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