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Old 03-22-2006, 06:53 PM   #1
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Offering Assistance To Disabled People

The way things are these days w/ manners and the like-sometimes it seems as is most people would knock over a disabled person before they would offer assistance. I know that's not true but it can seem that way. I always feel like it is the right thing to do to offer and that it is 100% my obligation as a human being, even though sometimes some disabled people might feel "offended" in some way-I have read articles to that effect. Today I was in a store and a man with two leg braces was exiting. I ran behind him and asked him if he wanted me to open the door for him. He could not have been nicer or more polite or full of gratitude, honestly it made my day and week-just that little interaction with him and the smile and two thank yous he gave me. He wasn't even an elderly man, I'd say he was in his late 40's. The doors had the handicapped buttons to open them but he had a bag and how the heck would he be able to hit it w/ two leg braces anyway?

So is it silly/wrong to even consider that some disabled people might be upset about that as some sort of questioning of their independence, or should we always offer and assist in spite of that concern? I know that I can't live w/ myself and the guilt if I don't offer, but it is NOT about me. Then I beat myself up over even asking instead of just doing it, but I feel somehow it is "better" to ask.

What do you do and what do you think?

It's like the terminology too becomes a questionable issue-"physically challenged" is probably the preferred term, not disabled or handicapped. I would never want to insult any challenged person, that was a big part of how I was raised and I guess I've always been very sensitive to that.
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Old 03-22-2006, 07:31 PM   #2
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I always offer to help - but like you, I ask permission first rather than just assuming that help is needed or wanted, i.e. "Can I get that door for you?". This puts the person with the disability in control of the outcome.


X 100000 for people who still take time to offer help to others.
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:20 PM   #3
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I always offer help. I've wondered too, what you do on how they might react but it boils down to their being inconvenienced by something just like a mother with a pram and toddler, or someone laden with bags, or someone with a wheelchair, or an elderly person with less mobility, or a pregnant lady. I dont like to view their burdens as anything which sets them apart from the rest of us. And on disabilities, many of us have one. Some are just not visible.


Funny you started this though, Mrs S. I was thinking for the last few days about something which has pissed me off for years. I was debating whether to start a thread here or in the sports forum, or just in my journal, or to not even bother - but with the Commonwealth Games on, it has reignited my ire. But is anyone else bothered or slightly put off by the fact that the Paralympics is not included with the able bodied games? It shits me that we are so obssessed with what the abled can do, but the para games are run afterwards, with hardly any coverage or publicity, and as a result, virtually no public interest. With the Comm. games, they're being run simultaneously, which is a start, but with bugger all televisation and only passing interest when one gets a medal.
It shits me! Why dont we run them at the same time and give these athletes the same level of hero worship we give these half worthy able bodied competitors? To save time the simple solution is to cut out these ridiculous sports to prevent them not being financially viable.
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Old 03-22-2006, 08:38 PM   #4
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I offer help. They can accept or turn it down. Some of them get a bit irked at the idea of needing help, so they should have a choice.
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Old 03-22-2006, 09:26 PM   #5
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I open doors for women, children, elders and any one, regardless of their situation.

I rarely ask, most say thank you.

Many people open doors for me.
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Old 03-22-2006, 11:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by deep
I open doors for women, children, elders and any one, regardless of their situation.

I rarely ask, most say thank you.

Many people open doors for me.


If it is a pattern and practice of life, it shouldn't matter who you are offering simple goodwill gestures. You shouldn't be responsible for how it is received.
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Old 03-23-2006, 02:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader




If it is a pattern and practice of life, it shouldn't matter who you are offering simple goodwill gestures. You shouldn't be responsible for how it is received.

This is true, NB.....and the world would be a much happier and nicer place if we were all more tolerant and courteous and helpful toward one another. I try to be, especially offering help to those physically challenged. I have some very good friends in power wheelchairs and let me tell you, my life has never been more enriched than since befriending them and experiencing with them what it is like just to do simple things in life. I have a new outlook and I ALWAYS look out for them before myself.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

If it is a pattern and practice of life, it shouldn't matter who you are offering simple goodwill gestures. You shouldn't be responsible for how it is received.
That's true, it should be a pattern and practice. But at the same time I do worry about offending someone's pride or sense of independence, I have had disabled people say "no it's OK, I'm all set" or something to that effect. And it does surprise me how many people walk right past them and never offer to help them-so I wonder if they're afraid of offending people too.


You are right Angela, disabilities aren't always visible. And when I see a pregnant woman or someone w/ a stroller, etc I offer to help.

I remember last summer I was on the subway and no one offered their seat to a blind man-I did and he was very nice, but he said he was getting off at the next stop which was very close. So at least it always feels great to offer.
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Old 03-23-2006, 10:36 AM   #9
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Re: Offering Assistance To Disabled People

Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


So is it silly/wrong to even consider that some disabled people might be upset about that as some sort of questioning of their independence, or should we always offer and assist in spite of that concern? I know that I can't live w/ myself and the guilt if I don't offer, but it is NOT about me. Then I beat myself up over even asking instead of just doing it, but I feel somehow it is "better" to ask.

What do you do and what do you think?
I've always wondered the same thing. I ask if s/he would like help or say "let me get that for you". I'd never look away or change direction to avoid the situation. IMO a person in a wheelchair approaching a door is not much different from a mom pushing three kids in a stroller or an elderly woman walking with a cane - all are usually grateful for help and all deserve help.

I have a professor right now who is in a wheelchair. Since I work until 5 and my class is at 6, I usually go to the room early to finish the reading and eat dinner. He comes in and if his wife is not there, he will often ask me to unload his backpack, setup any AV stuff, write the agenda on the board, and open/shut the door. He's touched on this issue with us and understands that some people don't know whether their helping will offend the disabled person and as someone who's been disabled all his life, he too has to learn to see situations from our perspective. To avoid this uneasiness, my prof. will always ask for help instead or waiting for someone to notice and volunteer. That way there's no weird feelings going on.
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Old 03-23-2006, 11:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader




If it is a pattern and practice of life, it shouldn't matter who you are offering simple goodwill gestures. You shouldn't be responsible for how it is received.
I agree.
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Old 03-24-2006, 09:12 PM   #11
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Engaged to someone with a disability, and having a job where I also work with seniors and the disabled, talking to "them" is second nature to me.

Asking my fiancee about this, she says that if they are obviously in distress, ask! She says to always offer, but not to judge all disabled people if someone is snarky - They may be getting used to their condition, or just in a bad mood. Often people will ask if they need help, but not ask.

She says to consider hte situation. Would you offer help if the person was not disabled?

Jos has one story that I love. She was late for school, and couldn't reach to tie her shoes. SHe has Cerebral Palsy in her legs, so walking is often interesting. She left her house stumbling, and the first person she saw was a cable guy working at a house. She called him over, explained, and he tied her shoes for her.

So yeah... just ask
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Old 03-25-2006, 08:48 AM   #12
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Thanks amigone . I would never judge all disabled people if someone is "snarky", we are all just human and have our moods, bad days, etc.
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Old 03-27-2006, 12:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Thanks amigone . I would never judge all disabled people if someone is "snarky", we are all just human and have our moods, bad days, etc.
Unfortunately, lots of people do.
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:06 AM   #14
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interesting something like this was asked on here finally.... i, being disabled with cerebral palsy, limited use of left-arm as its in a awkward position an the people come running, especially the very religious people and they throw in words of worship which annoys me even more (no offense) , I am a very independent person and like to do things on my own... it does annoy me sometimes when people come up to me and ask if i'm ok or i need help.. it is offending to me, if i need help i will ask for it. this was not the case at a restaurant i went to one time with a friend in a wheelchair... the waiter was coming over too often to check on us, in which we were like sayin "give us 15-20 mins of eating time damn" to ourselves but i guess also it could have been that it was the first week of opening or the workers were not trained in counting disabled people as everyone else. I've also had many varying situations with flight attendants, concert event staff for GA worrying i'd be squished or trampled at u2 gigs where you don't even mosh at u2 gigs, (i'm a pro of that by now, damn), people i run into at my university, etc. you name it,.. i've been there.

i try my best to not to be rude to people who offer help. i say "no thanks, i got it"

however, if it's a good lookin or sweet girl/woman offering to help, i'll accept it gladly
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:16 AM   #15
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Maybe a motto of, if somebody expects help then they don't deserve it should apply
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