What everyone needs to know! Jess' Experience of having a disability in the community.
Lately I have found myself shaking my head a LOT more at the way others in the community talk to me! So I thought I would write about it!
I am lucky that I can get out and about in the community as much as I choose to. I have carers/family that assist me to go to the places that I want to go. This ranges from different shopping centres, the movies, visiting family or appointments.
Mostly, this goes smoothly and I have a great time. However, all my life I have come across so many people who see me in my wheelchair and decide to go out of their way to talk to me. Now if these people approached me and spoke to me like another adult this would be fine! but they don't! For some reason so many people choose to talk to the person I'm with instead of me but its often about me! Or they increase their volume and change their tone of voice as if they were talking to a child! In this day and age you would think that people would be more aware that just because I am in a wheelchair doesn't mean they need to talk to me any different from anyone else.
I often find myself rolling my eyes at people! Sometimes it is what they are saying and sometimes its how they are saying it.
I have had strangers try to hug me or kiss me! I have had people try to give me stickers! or money or even a free hair cut! and people think my communication device is a game because of the icons or they think its a TV.
I am a young married woman, with a mortgage and responsibilities just because I have cerebral palsy doesn't mean that I have an intellectual disability. Even if I did have an intellectual disability I would still expect people to talk to me like an adult. More needs to be done to raise awareness, especially in shops where staff must come across people with disabilities all the time.