How to Help Disableds

By Martin "The Baron" Hubley
Not to brag or anything, but around my hometown I'm known as a bit of a philantherer. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a philantherer is someone who loves giving back to the community! So it wouldn't be at all out of the ordinary to see me feeding an elderly woman chicken tenders at the food court, or even helping a little boy in the Sears dressing room squeeze into a cute new pair of jeans. Hey what can I say? I guess I just enjoy being a good person!
Unfortunately not everyone is as big a fan of good deeds and charity as I am. There are still plenty of folks out there who don't know how to be good citizens. One of the most offensive things I've noticed is that hardly anyone knows how to treat a handicap. It's hard to believe, I know, but trust me, in my lifetime I've seen it all. I've seen ticket takers make a woman in a wheelchair wait in line for popcorn at the theater. I've seen a dwarve denied access to rollercoaster because of height requirements. I've even seen drivers honk at someone with a handicapped sticker who cut them off. It's a cold world out there, but luckily I'm here to help.
Read on to see my advice on how to properly treat someone who is under the influence of handicap.

Mental Disableds

CrazyThe number one thing you need to remember when addressing a someone with a mentalist handicap it that it is NOT a good idea to speak to them directly. This is because you never know what kind of disability they have, and likely, all you are going to do is confuse them or cause them to go into a furious rage. You just never know.
This is why you should always speak to someone who could possibly be disabled through a third party. Many of them have friends, employees, or relatives that help them while they run errands, so any questions or concerns you have for the disabled should be addressed to them. And don't worry, while it might seem strange at first to say things like "Tell that deaf he can't park there", "Does the wheelchair guy want another ice cream?", trust me, these are all perfectly acceptable ways to communicate with these friendly folks!
Here are a couple more things you should know about how to play nice with these people:

Never Assume Mental Handicapping

For example: Some mental obscructeds often wear a large white bandage or special helmet, but many don't. Wouldn't you feel just a tinch foolish heading up to a man at the store who walked strangely with a twisted up mouth and asking if he has anyone to help with his disability only to find out that he's only a stroke victim? Talk about embarrassing. Not only have you judged a person based on their looks (not cool) you also probably made them feel like they are mentally ill when they are not. Well done superjerk.

Crazy 2Do Not Anger Them

Remember that a mental handicapped is not a power to be trifled with. Many of them have been known to posses inhuman strength or increased ability to jump, climb, or bite when they are frightened or angry. Sure, this may very well be an old wive tale, but why take the risk? Keep them calm.

Don't Give Them Scissors

No, not even safety scissors. Most people who are mentally off will not even understand how a scissor works, let alone the proper situations to use one. I have heard horror stories of caretakers giving a mentalist a pair of plastic kid scissors and leaving the room, only to return later to an expensive pair or drapes shredded and the handicap on the floor in a pool of it's own blood. Don't risk it!

Wheelchair People

WheelchairRemember: Just because a person is in a wheelchair it does not make them less of a human being. Some humans just can't walk. Like babies for example. A baby can't walk, but do you treat them any differently than you would an adult? No, of course you don't. The same goes for the physically impeded, they can do everything a real person can do (sometimes better). For instance: did you realize that wheel chair people sometimes play sports? Good for them!
Here are some more lightning hot protips on how to treat chairfolk with the respect and dignities they deserve:

Don't Be afraid to Ask Them What is Wrong With Them

There is a humorous or exciting story behind every wheelchair, and chairers love to tell them! Who knows, you might even make a new friend!

Never Offer to Shake Hands

Their arms might not work, and you risk embarrassing them. A simple pat on the head or squeeze of the shoulder is sufficient for a greeting.

WheelchairBe Their Cheering Section

If you see someone in a wheelchair trying unsuccessfully to get up a curb, steep ramp, or dangerous incline, DO NOT OFFER TO HELP. Most chairers are proud folk and will resent you treating them like a child when they are perfectly capable of doing something themselves. A better way is to provide moral assistance by shouting something like "Come on! You can do it buddy!" It's like the old saying "Give a man a fish, he'll feed it for a day, but teach a man to fish, and he'll feed any fish he catches for a lifetime  (because he feels more pride from catching them himself).

Help Them Through Doors

Doors, on the other hand, can be a wheeled human's worst enemy, so if you ever happen to be behind a wheel chairer as they approach a door, take some initiative and help them out. Grab the back of their chair and push them through. No need to even ask. Everyone appreciates a surprise helping hand!

Midges and/or Dwarves

MidgetSeeing someone who has been afflicted with dwarf in public can be a scary and exciting experience, but there's usually nothing to fear from them. Think about it: Have you ever heard of a midget committing murder? Of course you haven't, because it never happens. These are a kind and simple people who only want to be left alone with their thoughts and once and a while given a compliment. Is that so very much to ask? I think not.  
Anyhoo, here are some "mini" tips and tricks you can use to make sure you don't offend one of these little beauties.

Don't Hesitate to Give Them a Lift

If you walk by an aisle in the grocery store and spot a dwarf staring at an object on a high shelf, they probably need your assistance. While your first impulse might be to walk on by and let them climb up, this is very dangerous for someone so small. So walk up and offer to lift them up by the hips or let them climb on your back to get what they were looking for.

Use Proper Language

Not to get too far into Political Correctness here, but there are a number of terms midges and dwarves prefer you use when discussing them. As you may have noticed I've been using a few already. These are the preferred terms, however there are a few others (Bemidged, Dwarved, A Little Miracle, One Who is Beset by Dwarf) which are acceptable as well.

Avoid Offensive Language

MidgetsThe following terms and phrases are absolutely unacceptable and should NEVER be used to describe one of these small folk: Hobbit, Tinyman, Gnome, Goblin, Man-Baby, Little Creature, Tiny Tot, Bugman, Thumbelina, Stumps, or Little One.

Never Look at One Directly

Small Ones often get annoyed because of all the unwanted attention they get whenever they go out. People just love to stare and point and guffaw. So give them a break: Don't look at them. It isn't difficult to do, if you happen to notice a dwarf (or someone who may be dwarved) walking around, simply turn your head quickly away. Congrats, you've just given another human being the greatest gift of all: Kindness.

Welp, I hope you've all learned a thing or two about how to handle those who mentally slowed, physically blocked, or similarly burdened. Remember that our world is a beautiful and fantastic place filled with all kinds of interesting people to look at. So the next time you see someone with a disability, stop and say a friendly "hello!" Heck, why not even pose for a picture with them! They'll surely appreciate the attention.
Thanks y'alls!

Photos Credits
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