The way we write about and interact with persons with disabilities may have a significant impact on both the individual and community views. Some words and interactions, by definition, demean and devalue individuals with disabilities. Others can be helpful in improving attitudes toward people with disabilities. Still others can have negative effects without being labeled as such.
Words can hurt. It is important to be aware of this when writing for an audience that may not understand how disabilities affect people. For example, if you use the word "idiot" to describe someone who is blind, then that word will likely stay with them long after they have forgotten what you meant to insult them for. Even if you only mean to insult them because their eyes are closed, then you have also insulted many other people with different disabilities. You should always think before you write or say something derogatory about another person or group of people.
Interactions can also hurt. If you want to help someone with a disability, it is important to know how to do so appropriately. For example, if a friend tells you that someone with a disability was being rude to him/her, then it is best to apologize for the person with the disability and avoid saying anything else about it. Rude behavior can often be caused by embarrassment or frustration with their condition, and ignoring these feelings can lead to more problems down the road.
It is critical to remember to treat each person as an individual while talking with someone who has a handicap. Also, treat others with respect and attention, as you would like to be treated. Communication needs to be honest and open between both parties if effective communication is going to occur.
Email is becoming more popular as an efficient method of communicating. It is important to write emails that are clear and concise. In addition, it is helpful if you include some kind of visual aid in your email (such as a table or diagram) to make what you have to say easier to understand.
If you have a person with a disability in your life, then you know how difficult it can be to communicate effectively with them. However, giving proper attention to those with disabilities will help you develop your communication skills and allow you to express yourself better.
We do know that communication difficulties are widespread in the intellectual disability arena. Individuals commonly struggle with communicating their needs, putting words to their feelings, reading signs, being misunderstood, or being heard. Communication is also an important factor in social interaction and employment opportunities.
Disability can affect how you communicate with others. If you have a visual impairment, for example, then speech-to-text programs may not be able to interpret your gestures. This could lead someone to believe that you don't want a service or that you don't agree to something. Hearing impairments can make it difficult to understand others when they talk at a normal speed. A hearing aid can help with this problem. Cognitive disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can make it difficult to understand nonverbal cues such as facial expressions or body language. People with cognitive disabilities often need information in writing or in video format instead of verbally.
Disability can also impact how others perceive your ability to communicate. If you have a physical disability, for example, then others might think that you cannot communicate effectively or that you are unwilling to try. They might even assume that you do not care about what happens around you. Intellectual disability can cause people to underestimate your abilities to understand them if they speak slowly or use simple language. They may also mistake your silence for agreement.