Disabilities are of different types. Although no one would ever wish to have one, impairments happen as a result of an accident, disease, or can be inborn. Some can be treated while some are permanent, and there is no other way around but to deal with them.
Types Of Disabilities:
Blindness Or Eyesight Problem
Blindness, eyesight problem, or vision impairment apply to the issues with the eyesight. People with this disability can be blind or cannot completely see or partially blind or have limitations in what they see. Braille is a method used by people with vision problems to read through the use of raised dots interpreted by the fingers.
“Eye sight problems are a physical manifestation of underlying stress, or that some of these patients are particularly suggestible, meaning that worrying about losing their sight turns into a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, through excess anxiety,” writes Raj Persaud, M.D.
What To Do When Talking To A Person With An Eyesight Problem:
- Allow them to take your arm when guiding them instead of the other way around.
- Introduce yourself and the other people with you if you have company.
- Offer help or assistance for any requirement.
- Warn for any danger in the environment.
- Describe the surroundings.
Deafness Or Hearing Problem
Deafness or hearing problem is a type of disability that affects the sense of hearing. People with this disability can be entirely or partially deaf. Sign language is what people with hearing problems use to communicate. They form a specific symbol of the hand to signify an alphabet or a message. They also use lip-reading, writing notes, or hearing aids.
“Deafness may exclude a person from hearing society, but it doesn’t have to lead to social isolation,” writes David Ludden Ph.D.
What To Do When Talking To A Person With A Hearing Problem:
- Make sure that you make eye contact with the person with the hearing problem and not just with the interpreter if they are with one.
- Communicate clearly with an average volume when talking.
- Avoid doing curved hands to mimic a megaphone when talking.
- When you don’t understand what a deaf person is saying, don’t pretend to. Politely ask if he could repeat it or better yet hand him a pen and paper or phone to type the message.
Physical disability refers to a disturbance or loss of function of mobility like the loss or deformation of arms or legs. There are also other physical disabilities affecting the dexterity or stamina of a person making him less capable of functioning well. An accident or an injury can cause it, or it can be present at birth.
“Many people who are labeled as disabled can also lead predominantly normal lives. They work, marry, have children, play sports, the list goes on,” writes Jim Taylor Ph.D.
What To Do When Talking To A Person With A Physical Disability:
- Avoid acting superior by dictating or giving orders.
- Offer assistance but remember to ask first.
- Don’t make a striking impression of sympathy.
- Ask permission first if you need to move a person’s mobility aid.
Mental Health Conditions
Mental health conditions refer to illnesses affecting the mind or brain including autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or personality disorders. These conditions change a person’s thoughts and behavior making him function differently from the norm. These conditions can be part of what we call as developmental disabilities.
What To Do When Talking To A Person With A Mental Health Condition:
- Ask what form of communication he prefers.
- Give precise instructions, descriptions, and explanations.
- Give as much patience and understanding.
- Avoid frowning or showing any gesture of annoyance.
A disability could affect us or someone we know. Nevertheless, it is essential that we show compassion to people who are dealing with this kind of challenge as life is already hard as it is. We can make things easier if we show empathy more than sympathy.