Firstly, let’s not forget that a person with a disability is just like anyone else, except that they have a characteristic that limits them in some areas of their life. The saying “treat others as you would like to be treated” applies perfectly here. If there is a person who has some kind of disability in your family or in your life, probably your first reaction is to run to offer them your help, something which is very good, but let’s consider the following for a moment:
It’s important to treat them as normally as possible: Despite their disability, they want to feel like they live a normal life as much as possible. Help them to do so. Don’t emphasize or focus only on their disability and treat them like you would treat any other family member or friend (talk, interact, go out together).
Show them empathy but not pity: They don’t want to feel like they are being pitied all the time because this constantly reminds them of their disability. So, be very empathetic and kind but don’t treat them with pity or feel sorry for them. Talk to them about things that make them happy, that inspire hope in them and that make them feel optimistic.
Offer them your help but don’t feel bad if they refuse: Just let them know that you are there for them if they need you and that you’ll do it happily but don’t force them to accept your help and don’t be offended if they say no. It’s essential that people with a disability are as independent as possible so they don’t feel like a burden for those around them.
It’s essential to practice patience with a person with a disability: People with some particular kinds of disability (for example, mental or cognitive illnesses, difficulty hearing or speaking) become slower and clumsier or they find it difficult to understand what is said to them. Be very patient with them, walk at their pace and repeat things when necessary. If you don’t understand what they say to you, ask them as naturally as possible to repeat it. The idea is not to protect them too much but to show them that you love them by being very patient with them.