People with disabilities, either physical or intellectual, encounter hurdles trying to accomplish tasks able-bodied and neurotypical people take for granted. The world isn’t always welcoming to people with disabilities, and while discrimination can sometimes be overt, it can also be subtle.
Every person deserves the same respect and rights no matter what, and it’s up to all of us to include people with disabilities in our communities and workplaces. Learning how to be inclusive with people with I/DD and other disabilities is a simple step we can all take.
Hire a Person With a Disability
People with disabilities are often the most overlooked workers in the labor pool. Some people mistakenly believe that people with I/DD or physical disabilities either can’t or don’t want to work. Are you in a position to hire people for your company? Hiring someone with a disability can add value to your team by strengthening your company’s diversity.
Speak Directly to the Person
Sometimes, people don’t speak to a person with disabilities directly and instead will address a friend, family member, or caregiver instead. You should always speak directly to the person rather than assuming they can’t make their own decisions. Even clinicians can learn to improve communication with people with I/DD, as people with disabilities often face discrimination in health care.
Follow Advocacy Groups on Social Media
Yes, it’s that easy. Following social media accounts that work to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities can help bring important issues into the national conversation. If more able-bodied and neurotypical people can see the crisis affecting the disabled community, there will be more people speaking up to protect those rights.
Ask To Hear Their Story
Often the conversation surrounding how to be inclusive with people with I/DD and disabilities is led not by people with disabilities but people on the peripheral, like caregivers, educators, or family members. Asking people with disabilities questions or to tell their stories gives them agency and a leading role in fighting discrimination.
The more we hear about an individual’s challenges and accomplishments, the more diverse our communities can become.