Showing Kindness to Individuals with Disabilities
Kindness. It is a Fruit of the Spirit and something we need now more than ever. Kindness is free to offer and has a way of coming back to you. It is something we are all called to do.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
When meeting someone with a developmental or intellectual disability, people may be nervous or intimidated. Will I say something wrong? Will I know the best way to communicate? What do I do? Showing kindness is always a great start!
ALLOW FOR CHOICE
God created each of us with free will, the ability to make choices for ourselves. Do not assume what an individual with a disability can or cannot do or what they may or may not want to do. Let them choose what they are comfortable doing and how they want to participate. Be a part of it with them – you may form a new relationship.
PROTECT THEIR DIGNITY
If you see someone with a disability that may need help, don’t be afraid to do just that! Be sure to ask first, however. Wait for a response before you jump in to assist. Would you want someone to help you without first asking?
Are you helping someone with care needs? Be sure to include them in the caregiving process. Ask questions to ensure they are comfortable with your help. Do you prefer a bath or shower? Is the water temperature ok? Can I help take your shirt off? When we involve the individual, we show that we respect them and their preferences.
HELP WITH OBTAINING FULFILLMENT IN LIFE
God created each of us with a purpose. You can help individuals with a disability discover their purpose and reach their potential. Some possible ideas include offering an encouraging word, taking individuals to events in your community, and driving someone to work. Be present to assist in reaching goals and to celebrate accomplishments. Isn’t it more fun when we have someone to share in our successes?
BUILD A RELATIONSHIP
We are all created for relationships – relationships with God and one another. If you meet someone with a disability, take time to get to know them. Pray with them. Learn their likes and dislikes. Discover their dreams and passions. See the person and not the disability.
At Echoing Hills, we hear so often that people come to change the lives of those with disabilities; however, if you form a friendship with an individual with a disability, you may find your life changed for the better as well!