Submitted by Matthew Robertson, Transition Coordinator
Being a person without a disability, I don’t understand all of the true struggles a person with a disability or multiple disabilities may go through. I’ve seen people in public – at a grocery store, for example – in a power chair that the store provides; try to reach something on the top shelf with some struggle. That person may be very strong willed and/or may not ask for help, in order to remain as independent as possible, and rightfully so. I’ve also seen the people that walk by without a care in the world as to whether that person may need help or not, and this bugs me.
Did the woman trying to reach crackers need help? Did she want help? Did she feel like it would be a burden to ask? These questions bother me to go unanswered when some may just say, “She’s riding around in the store’s power chair, and she’s just lazy.” Yes, she may be able to stand and take a couple steps, but that doesn’t mean those steps aren’t very painful. We don’t know what everyone has been through and that’s okay, as long as judgments are not made.
It is not an obligation to help everyone you think needs help, or appears less able than you, because they may be very capable! I just feel that if you are a kind soul and see a person, with a disability or not, having a hard time, ask if they would like some help. Smile, be kind, wish them a wonderful day, but most of all, be understanding.
– – –
Be sure to check back next Friday for more from PACE!