Do’s and Don’ts of Disability: The Basics!

Here is a general guide to new people to the community from first-hand accounts! Disclaimer: These are not universal and every disability/individual is unique! It doesn’t hurt to ask questions; CW/TW: ableism.


DO

Treat disabled people the same as anyone else.

DONT

Ask them “what’s wrong with you?”


DO

Speak up if someone makes a rude comment.

DONT

Continue to make a scene if they are uncomfortable.


DO

Educate others in your circle of friends.

DONT

Speak for the community, accept apologies of ableism, or play savior.


DO

Ask them what you can do to accommodate them in a situation.

DONT

Insist on helping when not needed or telling them what they need.


DO

Ask if they prefer person-first or identity-first language.

DON’T

Correct them, say their disability is a “superpower”, or that they are “differently-abled”.


DO

Spread awareness about disability rights and inclusion like learning ASL or asking for alt text and captions.

DONT

Try to teach others ASL, what words are being “reclaimed” in your opinion, or gatekeep people with invisible disabilities.


For more information on disability rights, check out my list on #DisabilityTwitter or visit https://disabilityhealth.jhu.edu/ to learn more!

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