How to Treat Those with Developmental Disabilities

If there is someone you know who has a development disability in Dartmouth, MA, it is important to remember that the person is a person first and foremost. Sometimes things can be said or done innocently which are painful and hurtful. Here are some tips to remember on how to treat people with a disability with dignity and respect.

The first strategy is to treat those with cognitive disabilities with patience. You want to be supportive and considerate. If you are in a public place, you could offer to go somewhere where it is quieter. You should be ready to repeat yourself, and you may need to write down what it is you want to express. Give that person extra time to process and respond to your words, and never come across as patronizing. Treat that person with respect and as an adult.

When you are talk to someone who has difficulty speaking, be patient and listen attentively while they are talking. Give them time to finish their sentence. Without coming across as condescending, try to structure your sentences so the person does not need to answer with lengthy responses. If you do not understand what they are saying, it is okay to tell them so. Just as you would someone who does not have cognitive issues, treat the person likewise.

Other situations you should be mindful of when engaging with a person with development disabilities in Dartmouth MA are those with mobility issues. If you are communicating with someone in a wheelchair or who is using crutches, put yourself at eye level with them. Refrain from patting them on the head or shoulder as such a gesture can be viewed as patronizing. If the two of you need to go somewhere, do not assume they want your help with the wheelchair or crutches. Ask first if they would like some assistance.

People with hearing disabilities, it is okay to tap them on the shoulder to get their attention. When you are speaking to them, speak directly to them. Don’t speak in an elevated voice. Just talk slowly yet normally. Try to position yourself so that they are not staring directly into a light source to see you and keep your hands away from your mouth.

Better Community Living, Inc. provides training, technical assistance & information related to developmental disabilities to families and people in Dartmouth, MA. Visit them.

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