Persons with disabilities need friends too. In fact, they could use as much love and support as they can get. A good support system is one of the most important things in life and for someone with a disability, having supportive friends could go a long way in improving their well-being and quality of life. However, most people don’t know how to relate with people living with disabilities which makes it hard to form friendships. Whether you have a disabled person in your friend group or you want to befriend one, here are some ways to be a better friend to someone with a disability.
- Remember Their Accessibility
When socializing, our friends’ needs and preferences determine the hangout spot. After deciding what you’re in the mood for, try to look for places that have handicap-friendly. For instance, they should have a handicap parking option and ramps that allow wheelchair access. Why Are Bars Are More Accessible Than Government Buildings To Persons With Disabilities?
For those with mental disabilities, consider somewhere where there are fewer activities so that it’s not too distracting and stressful for them. Included But Excluded – When People Include You To Look Like They Care But It’s Just For Show
- Empathize With Them
Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine life from their point of view. As such, try to make their lives a little easier. Help them in any way that you can. Treat them the same way you would like to be treated. However, don’t seem like you feel bad or pity for them as this could make them feel bad about themselves. When People With Disabilities Are Given Medals For Just Showing Up, You’re Not Helping Us
- Be Patient
People with disabilities have a very different approach to life than other people. Try to understand them and not to change them. Learn how to find solutions that work for both of you and approach them with patience. This is the only way you’ll be able to appreciate what they have to offer. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t call them out when they do something wrong.
- Check On Them
People with a disability experience good and bad days. However, they’re less likely to ask for help since they don’t want to seem like a burden. If you’re friends with a disabled person, check up on them before they reach out to you. Ask them if they need any help. Sometimes, they’re simply exhausted and they’d like some help with their daily chores.
- Celebrate Them
Acknowledge them when they make the effort to show up since in most cases, it takes most of their energy to move from place to place. When they show up, try to pay extra attention to them by complementing then and taking a genuine interest in their life. If they can’t make it or they cancel last minute, surprise them with a home delivery instead of getting upset. However, you should also give them their personal space when they need it.
- Concede Control
There’s always that one friend who calls the shots in every friendship. However, when dealing with someone with a disability, it’s necessary to let go of those power dynamics. They already feel like they’ve lost some control of their lives so avoid trying to take over their lives even more. Additionally, they’re more experienced in dealing with their disability than you are. You can instead encourage them to do things the way they know.