Using Proper Language with the disabled…

7 Things NEVER to Say to People With Disabilities

We’ve all heard them. Culturally insensitive terms such as “handicapped,” “retarded” and “slow” used to refer to people with disabilities, or “compliments” such as “but you look so good,” directed at people whose disabilities aren’t obvious. While those using the terms may not mean to be insensitive, that doesn’t make the words less hurtful.

1. “What’s wrong/what happened?” or “Were you born that way?”

2. “Oh, if you just have faith, you can be healed.

3. Speaking slowly or loudly to someone who is in a wheelchair.

4. “I don’t even think of you as a person with a disability.”

5. “How do you go to the bathroom?”

6. “But you look so good.”

7. “Oh, you’re here, you must feel better.”

Then there are invisible disabilities.

Maybe, like me,  you have one

“But you look so good”

Obvious, you may think you’re doing the right thing by saying he or she “looks so good.” You can’t even tell the person has a disability, and that’s a good thing, right? Wrong.

Why do people with disabilities take offense to this comment and others like it?  Ninety-six percent of
illnesses are invisible to the average person, according to invisibleIllnessweek.com.
To comment on a person’s outward appearance dictates, intentionally or otherwise, that they should feel the way they look: just fine.
However, non-visible or chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, mental illness, lupus, multiple sclerosis and
fibromyalgia, can be debilitating. “The term ‘invisible disabilities’ refers to a person’s symptoms such as extreme fatigue, dizziness, pain, weakness, cognitive impairments, etc., that are sometimes or always debilitating.
These symptoms can occur due to chronic illness, chronic pain, injury … and are not always obvious to the onlooker,” according to The Invisible Disabilities Association.
“A person can have an invisible disability whether or not they have a ‘visible’ impairment or use an assistive device like a wheelchair, walker, [or] cane.”
Keeping a good game face is required in corporate America, as it is considered unprofessional to bring
personal problems into the workplace. But looking good and feeling good are two very different things–
and the impact of a disability or illness is as much psychological as it is physical.
From the glares people with non-visible disabilities get after parking in a handicapped spot to the “You’re so lucky you get to stay in bed all day” comments, the ignorance of the limitations of life with a chronic illness or disability can hurt as much as the actual pain. Open Mouth, Remove Foot


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