Helping the disabled/differently-abled....
How do you decide/know when to help, and when to let them alone and respect their attempt/right to be as independent as possible?
I think there is nothing wrong with a friendly smile, and asking if you might help. You can usually see if someone needs help, when they can't verbally communicate. But the friendly and polite smile seems to work.
I tend to assume if someone is used to living with a disability he's probably also accustomed to sometimes, or in some situations, just asking for help in some situations. Other than that, I guess if I saw someone particularly struggling I might ask if he'd like help. He can either say, 'yes, thanks" or "no, thanks". Of course, I don't know if that's how someone who has lived with a disability would see it. Besides seeing someone particularly struggling, I guess I'd ask if someone need help in a particularly challenging situation (like a particularly dangerous street-crossing situation that's not "run-of-the-mill").
Other than that, I have at different times lived with leg injuries (in a case or two, long term), and there's really nothing much anyone else could do to make anything I do any easier.
I don't so much have this problem these days, but over the last few years there have been times when I was working on building up strength for walking (and later stairs). There was a time when even a little extra weight (like a mid-weight grocery bag) made those walks more of a work-out than was good; which meant that while an almost empty-handed walk up stairs seemed effortless and reasonably graceful, too much extra weight would turn more into a two-feet-on-a-step type of thing, and include a little being out of breath.
I'd assume that if a person had something like arthritis in knees or hips it could be a similar type of thing.
When this was "where I was once" with the leg injuries I really preferred to workout when I decided to - not when I had groceries or something else to bring up the driveway, walk, stairs, etc.; so having someone else just take most of the bags meant I could practice the task of walking from the car to the house without the additional matter of bags.
The one thing I still can't do is climb to get the top of the refrigerator; so I think with "mobility issues" climbing tasks may be the ones a person will have the most problems with.
I suppose one point is whether a person's disability is permanent, getting worse, or getting better. Some types of assistance (in a temporary, even if long-term, situation) can happen with a more willy-nilly, family/friends type of arrangement. A life-long or worsening disability probably requires something more stable than that.
Just some personal thoughts/opinion, of course....
That is tough one; often times the dialed, and I assume you mean the mentally disabled know it and are pleasant about it. They will accept help but don't want an outpouring of sympathy.
If there are mentally disabled who DON't want help, they're still human and feel the warm effects of a smile-unless there is underlying pathology, like paranoid. It can be a hard line.
But the real hard line is the mentally disabled who knows he is disabled, but unfortunately doesn't acknowledge his disability ant manipulates you to get sympathy or financial help.
But, I really feel that if a disabled person wants to be left alone, as long he has is shown to be able to make decisions for him/herslf that are safe, we ought to respect wishes and leave that person alone.
Give them a gentle smile and tell them that if they decide that if they need your help you will be right here.
Then if you you work with, or near, them keep on with what you are doing but stay nearby. If you area neighbor, go about your business but stay aware of whether they are trying to attract your attention.
Get the idea?
Yes--meant more like strangers whom you come across in stores, etc.
I do have a friend (since moved a few states away) in a wheelchair, who is FIERCELY independent..even "dances" with his chair...and a very proud man--drives & gets own chair into
You could observe them for a few minutes and and ask them but be close enough for help if it is really needed.
I think it depends on the disabled person. I would offer help regardless. If they snap and say they don't need help, then okay, I still feel positive because I offered.
My husband is an amputee and I think he would be the snappy type if someone offered him help. He wants to be independent.
As the mother of a 16-year-old special needs teenager, I think the best thing to do is let them tell you/ask you for help. My daughter is very indepenent, to a point, but has severe physical limitations. She will give me a look or a sigh or a half-smile that lets me know she is now ready for me to help.
Sometimes, the age of the person and the extent of their limitations can dictate when to help and when to let them try it on their own. As a little girl, she had 2 seconds of trying, then cried and held her arms out. As she grew older, so did her determination and need to be more independent.
No matter the age, I have found that immediately helping and "hovering" irritates most. Can you imagine having someone running to do EVERYTHING for you EVERY MINUTE of your life? Let them try and then ask or motion or look to you for help. Of course, if there is a chance of physical harm or some hazard they don't see, immediately jump in to assist and/or avoid injury.
Giving them as much independence as possible is usually the best answer. Society has a way of making the disabled feel like they are less of a person. The more we do to give them independence and have their own space and boundaries, the better their self-esteem is.
I think one should always offer help if so inclined but the trick is to actually be helpful.
Before providing any help, always ask what kind of help is actually required.
I've been disabled almost 40 years and I can't count the number of times folks have made a situation more difficult for me by providing help that they think I need rather than the type of help I actually need.
For example, if I can't reach a drink then I often just need someone to move it closer to me but folks want to pick it up and stick the straw in my mouth. They think they're being helpful but they're really been annoying.
So, please ask for help but then ask what kind of help would be really useful.
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