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Posted By on 02/12/2020

10 ways you can assist a disabled person

10 ways you can assist a disabled person

We get lost when confronted with a person with disabilities; we feel embarrassed and may even offend him with a careless statement. And such people being in public places often need help which, out of ignorance, we cannot provide them.

And here, the disabled themselves come to the rescue, giving advice on how to behave with them. This material is based on recommendations adopted by the International Movement for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Every modern person needs to know that people with disabilities are part of society, and we must make their difficult lives easier. You can buy scaffolding rental and other products that can help them in their lives. 

10 general ways to assist and communicate with a disabled person

  • When communicating with a disabled person, try to contact him directly but not to his companion or sign language translator, who is present during the conversation.
  • When you are introduced to a disabled person, it is natural to shake hands with him - even those who find it difficult to move their hands, or who use the prosthesis, may well shake hands which is perfectly acceptable.
  • When you meet a person who does not see well or does not see at all, be sure to call yourself and the people who came with you. If you have a common conversation in a group, do not forget to explain to whom you are currently contacting and call yourself. Be sure to warn out loud when you step aside (even if you leave for a short while).
  • If you offer help, wait for it to be accepted, and then ask what and how to do it. If you do not understand, do not hesitate - ask again.
  • Treat children with disabilities by name, and adolescents and older as adults.
  • Hanging or leaning on someone's wheelchair is the same as leaning or hanging on its owner. A wheelchair is part of the untouchable interplanetary of the person who uses it.
  • When talking with a disabled person who has difficulty in communicating, listen to him carefully. Be patient and wait until he finishes the phrase. Do not correct or negotiate for it. Feel free to ask again if you do not understand the person you are talking to.
  • When you are talking to a person using a wheelchair or crutches, position yourself so that your eyes and one are at the same level. It will be easier for you to talk, and your interlocutor will not need to throw his head back.
  • To attract the attention of a deaf person, wave a hand or poke on the shoulder. Look directly into his eyes and speak clearly, although keep in mind that not all people who are hard of hearing can read lips. Talking with those who can read lips, sit in such a way that light falls on you, and you can be clearly seen, try so that nothing bothers you and nothing obscures you.
  • Do not be embarrassed if you accidentally say: “See you” or “Have you heard about this ...?” to someone who really cannot see or hear. Passing something into the hands of the blind, in no case do not say "Feel it" - say the usual words "Look at it."

Visually impaired and blind

Visual impairment has many degrees. There are only about 10% of completely blind people, and the rest have the residual vision that can distinguish between light and shadow and sometimes the color and shape of the subject. Some have weak peripheral vision, while others have a weak direct with good peripheral vision. All this must be clarified and taken into account when communicating.

Offering your help, direct the person, do not squeeze his hand and go as you usually walk. No need to grab a blind person and drag him along.

Briefly describe where you are. Warn about obstacles including steps, puddles, pits, low lintels, pipes, etc. Use phrases characterizing sound, smell, distance, etc. Share what you see. Guide dogs are not treated like normal pets. Do not command, do not touch or play with a guide dog.

If you are going to read to a blind person, first warn about it. Speak in a normal voice. Do not skip information if you are not asked.

If this is an important letter or document, you do not need to give it a touch to convince. However, do not replace reading with the retelling. When a blind person must sign a document, be sure to read it. Disability does not exempt a blind person from the liability arising from the document.

People with psychiatric problems

Mental disorders are not the same as developmental problems. People with mental problems may experience emotional distress or confusion that complicates their lives. They have their own special and changing worldview.

It is not necessary to think that people with mental disorders necessarily need additional help and special treatment. Treat people with mental health problems as individuals. There is no need to draw premature conclusions based on experience with other people with the same form of disability.

One should not think that people with mental disorders are more prone to violence than others. It is a myth. If you are friendly, they will feel relaxed. It is not true that people with mental disabilities have problems understanding or are lower in intelligence than most people.

If a person with mental health problems is upset, ask him calmly what you can do to help him. Do not talk sharply with a person with mental disabilities, even if you have a reason for this. Try not hurt them with your words. 

People with speech difficulties

Do not ignore people who find it difficult to speak, because understanding them is in your interests. Do not interrupt or correct a person who has difficulty speaking. Start talking only when you are convinced that he has already completed his thought. 

Do not try to speed up the conversation. Be prepared for the fact that a conversation with a person with a difficult speech will take you more time. If you are in a hurry, it’s better to apologize to arrange communication at another time. Look in the face of the interlocutor and maintain eye contact. Give this conversation all your attention.

Do not think that difficulty in speaking is an indicator of a person’s low level of intelligence. Try to ask questions that require short answers or a nod. Do not pretend if you do not understand what you were told. Feel free to ask again. If you are still unable to understand, ask to say the word at a slower pace, possibly by letter.


It is important to remember that physical problems, limitations and disabilities are also huge emotional stress for any person. Disabled people more than anyone need psychological help and moral support. It is good when there are close people next to a person who is ready to help and support him in difficult times. And if not, material assistance is good. It cannot replace the human warmth of communication and sympathy.

We understand that modern life is an obstacle race in which time is critically short of anything. But still, try to allocate at least a couple of hours a week in your schedule in order to just talk with a person who is faced with a serious problem. 

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