Communication is Key

Not too long ago, I was paid a compliment referring to what I was wearing. I was ready to say thank you until that same person finished the compliment with “who picked it out for you.” This took me by surprise and I actually had to take a few minutes to think about my response.

Sometimes, people just don’t understand how a person with a disability feels about such comments.  Communication is a serious issue the disability community faces; people either talking down to us or sometimes they talk to us, as if we are unable to do things for ourselves. What’s up with this? I often think some misjudge people with disabilities’ intelligence.  So I am here to try and educate folks through advocacy, my weekly blogs and to whoever will listen.

Over the past forty-five years, if a person is having a conversation with me in a slow high pitched tone, squatting to come face-to-face, or petting my arm and back, I know I’m being misjudged.  See, I do all these things to my puppy Tiny and she looks at me as if she wants to say, lady, give it a break.

Usually, I’m a very cool and calm person for the most part. I try not to vent a lot because I know everyone has a set of obstacles in their path. But, I think many persons with disabilities face this problem.  I believe it can be solved or at least brought awareness to with a little guidance from myself and a few good people that are willing to spread the word.

If you can spread the word that people with disabilities are “people first” and deserve the respect of being spoken to as adults, I would surely appreciate it. I know some are not knowledgeable about those with disabilities and are, for the most part, just trying to understand and learn.  Respect goes both ways. Help me to spread awareness to others that communication is key.

By the way, to the person who asked me if I pick my own clothes, yes I do. I’m more than willing to assist you at picking out yours too.

8 comments on “Communication is Key

  1. April on

    Shari, I see this across gender communication as well. If a male colleague calls me “honey”, or “sweetheart” I will always politely ask them to not refer to me in that manner again. One polite comment usually gets the issue addressed. I think you are doing the right thing by raising awareness. Unfortunately, there will always be more people out there that need to be enlightened.

  2. Monae Dawson on

    Lol, I love this! Shari I beg to differ, you are a COMEDIAN 1st, then a person. There’s never a dull moment with you. I wanna share that I learn so much from you(strength, confidence, and fashion choices). Though it’s visible you strut in your Cadillac majority of the day, and I use my hambone legs (Lol) to get around, I truly see you the person and hopefully you get the same from our encounters. One of the greatest revelations of life for me was to learn to Be patient with the world. People parish from their lack of knowledge, the fear of the unfamiliar or unknown. You are different but, aren’t we all. Continue venting/blogging, it’s necessary for growth but, take it with a grain of salt(no sweat), the stares, the whispers, the giggles, those avoiding you, or even those treating you like a non factor. Life goes through phases which means those that are so Uppity, will eventually come down. Be great Shari , for it’s truly a gift to have gifts and abilities, even when the world wants to put limits on you based on what they think they see.

  3. Melody Mitchell on

    Yeah this is a real issue. I took my mom out recently to buy some orthotic shoes and the lady kept asking me questions like Mom is deaf or mute because she is disabled. I was upset because that just doesn’t make any sense to me. My response when that happens is usually, My Mom can talk and hear! That gets the point across most times but sometime I just have to walk away so they have to address her. The struggle is real. Shari keep educating people and change will come! 🙂


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