Communication in itself is tricky, and even more so when it comes to meeting a disabled person.
To help, here are some questions you should totally, most definitely ask disabled people to connect with them on their level. Of course, please refrain from asking these questions to nondisabled people, as they might get offended.
- What’s wrong with you?
You must never ask a nondisabled person this question because it’s rude and their medical history is really none of your business. But disabled people believe random strangers have every right to know everything about them.
Immediately ask, “What’s wrong with you?” as a conversation starter when you meet a disabled person! Don’t even bother asking their name — that’s just so yesterday. This will set you apart from everyone else they’ve met.
- Can I pray for you?
You don’t need permission! Just go right up to them, put your hand on their head, heart or some other body part and start praying their disability away.
This might be considered weird behavior, harassment or a violation of personal boundaries for nondisabled people, but not so for disabled people. In fact, they always wish more people would pray for them because if everyone did, they wouldn’t be disabled, would they?
- Can they talk?
When asking a nondisabled person questions, it’s only polite to address them directly. But not so for disabled people!
Rather, if a disabled person is with a nondisabled person, please always, always remember to address their nondisabled counterpart. That’s right, completely ignore the disabled person (don’t even make eye contact!) even though the question is for them. Bonus points if you point to the disabled person as you refer to them. Extra bonus points if you assume the nondisabled person is their nurse, parent or sibling.
- Are you faking your disability?
Nondisabled people don’t like to be called impostors, but disabled people welcome this question! This shows you think they are normal and must just be really great actors — they’ll think it’s a compliment, and it’s one of the best ways to gain their trust and friendship.
Ask this question especially when you see a disabled person only occasionally using their wheelchair, white cane or other assistive device. After all, random strangers know a disabled person’s medical history best and should tell them they have to use their assistive tools all the time to qualify as having a real disability.
- Do you have sex?
When you see a nondisabled couple, you might think they look cute together. But when you see a disabled or interabled couple, the first obvious thought is, How do they have sex, if they even do have sex?
Well, don’t wonder anymore. Simply ask them! Nondisabled couples might scoff at your question because it’s downright rude and an invasion of privacy, but disabled couples absolutely love divulging details of their sex lives, especially with random strangers.
We hope this guide helps you the next time you meet a disabled person. Ask these questions, preferably in a dumbed-down baby voice, and the awkwardness will melt away, allowing you to communicate effectively!