Friday, April 26, 2013

Ten Disability "Don'ts"

Most of the people I encounter in my day-to-day life are respectful and polite, but whether or not we have a disability, I'm sure we can all agree that there are exceptions to that rule. Some of the comments and reactions I receive are from well-meaning individuals, and are only mildly annoying...we all make mistakes, after all. Others make my blood boil! I made a short list of my disability pet peeves, and I'd love to hear if any of you can relate!
  1. When I hold the door for you, don't say, "I should be holding the door for you!" It's awkward and it makes me wonder if you think that I'm incapable. 
  2. Don't look at me like I'm drunk because of my clumsy gait. I'm not. I might not be able to walk in a perfectly straight line, but I can say the entire alphabet backwards! 
  3.   Don't tell me that you "know what it's like" to have CP because you sprained your ankle once. And for the sake of all that's good in the world, DON'T tell me that you've had it worse than me because you broke your leg... it will take all of my self-control not to dump my life story on you.
  4. Don't tell me that I'm "lucky" because I don't have to go on a run or attend sports practices.
  5. Don't speak to me like I'm five years old. I can understand you perfectly, and your patronizing tone is beyond annoying.
  6. Don't ask, "What's wrong with you?" Nothing is wrong with me. My body just works a little differently than yours.
  7. Don't ask me a personal question about my disability if we've just met, even if you preface it with, "May I ask you a personal question?" Every time I hear that, I die a little bit inside.
  8. Don't moan and complain about how unfair it is that I get to call for a ride to class when it's icy outside. Forgive me if I'm not exactly sympathetic.
  9. When we're walking up the staircase, don't stop in the middle to talk to your friends and expect that I can simply walk around you. I can't, because I need to use the railing, so I'm trapped on the stairs until you finish your conversation.
  10. When I mention casually that I'm worried about crowds or curbs or something like that, don't brush it off by saying, "Crowds don't bother ME at all! You worry too much." Think about what you're saying and how it might make me feel inadequate, and try to see life from my perspective for a moment.

Do you have any disability-related pet peeves? I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Not My disability, but Boo's. We were in Disney and a woman asked why we got to have our stroller in the line. Since she had to corral her children. I replied how many doctors do your children have? She looked at me blankly. I said Boo has 14 and this stroller is technically her wheelchair. That's why she gets to use it in line!

    So my advice to you is don't hold back. When someone says they know how you feel, make sarcasm your friend and reply...oh really I'm sorry I didn't know you've been fighting to keep your foot out of your mouth all these years. And here I thought having CP was tough

    Adore you :)

  2. Oh my goodness, Kerri...some people don't think before they speak! I love, love, love your response, though. She must have been speechless after that!

    Thank you for the advice...I definitely want to try that sometime hahaha :)

    Adore you too - and Boo! Your family is made of awesomeness.

  3. Love this :)
    All of it.
    Keep being awesome!

  4. People can be so thoughtless. My biggest pet peeve is when parents say things to me like "well that's not necessarily autism, because I bet a lot of kids do that." Really? You think a lot of kids are so wigged out when they get their teeth brushed that it makes them vomit? My guess is no.
    We did have one mother refuse to share an elevator with us because she didn't like the noise Tucker made when running in a Wiggles and Giggles class.
    You are awesome.

  5. Jacquelyn: Thank you! :) YOU are awesome!

    Kristi: Wow...I can't believe someone would say that! The ignorance of some individuals never ceases to amaze me. And that other mother? She didn't know what she was missing...Tucker is an amazing little boy! xoxo

    1. K-
      Yup, somebody really did say that and the worst part? I've heard it more than once. Of course I agree that Tucker is an amazing little boy but it drives me nuts when people try to brush off what's going on. OH! The other thing I wanted to share that drives me nuts is "Don't worry. He'll catch up."
      Um. Well, maybe. But that's doubtful and what if he doesn't, isn't that okay too??? <3 you friend.

  6. Thoughtless people for sure! Great list. I'm sorta feeling like I should just have your posts automatically populate to my twitter and FB feeds ;-) My biggest pet peeve: "but look at all the opportunity that you got out of this experience - you have a great blog." That's a great silver lining. And then, this one is only disability related because it's the HOW on my son's special needs (and I'm sure your mom heard it too), but people love to tell me how lucky I am that I never had to experience those last months of pregnancy. I think I'm going to take Kerry's advice and next time reply with, "I'm sorry were your last 15 weeks of pregnancy worse than 230 days in the hospital and a life of special needs?" Yep, I'm going to do it?

  7. Disability Related Pet Peeves:

    1) People in my own (accessible) building telling me "great job" when I walk down the hall, or ask if I am "taking my daily walk to INSPIRE THEM." Like, really, these people are the ones who you would think would know better...

    2) Being singled by name in an acquaintance's charity run. Characterizing people with CP as pitiable and in need of so much help. Not equal in any way.

    3) People in charge of fixing adaptive equipment who do not make it a priority to actually take you seriously and FIX IT.


Please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Thanks! :-)