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Suggestions by self-advocate and speaker Eleanor Bailey (written when she was in 8th grade)
This is how I want to be treated.
Language – A person who has a disability is a person just like any other person. When you talk about a person with a disability, don’t say their disability first. So, say “the person who is deaf” instead of “the deaf person.” Say “the person who uses the wheelchair”, not “the cripple”. Say “persons with disabilities”, not “the disabled.” Some words about people with disabilities are mean. Don’t use words like dumb, retarded, crazy, deformed, lame and defective.
With a person who is blind – let the person know you there and who you are. If he has a guide dog, don’t play with the guide dog. You can offer help, but don’t help unless the person wants help.
With a person who is deaf – To get the attention of a person who is deaf, you can gently tap the person on the shoulder.
With a person in a wheelchair – Don’t touch the wheelchair without permission. Don’t push the person in the wheelchair unless you have offered to help and the person said she wanted you to help her.
With a person who has trouble talking – If you don’t understand what the person said, ask them to repeat it. Don’t pretend you understand.
You should treat people with disabilities like everyone else. If you aren’t sure if something is okay, you could ask the person with the disability. It is okay to ask questions.
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