Upholding human rights, especially the rights of individuals who have disabilities, provides professionalism, peace, compassion, safety, and security. As a professional, understanding the rights and lived experiences of individuals with disabilities provides a common ground, exposure, and inclusion.
Individuals who have disabilities often find themselves overwhelmed by stigmas and inequality. In the professional healthcare and recovery industry, acknowledging the International Day of Persons With Disabilities helps eliminate the exclusion and better serve everyone with integration, response, and hope.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is held each year for a week, sometime in November or December. The week recognizes individuals who are less likely to have access to education, healthcare, and employment and may not be inclined to want to participate in community events. Individuals who struggle with disabilities are recognized during IDPD as a way to express they should not be left behind, regardless of the disability or the situation.
IDPD started in the early 1990s and promoted the rights and well-being of those with disabilities to increase awareness for social, economic, political, and cultural elements. The recognition developed into an international day of recognition, helping people with disabilities around the globe to be recognized and affirmed through day-to-day activities and inclusion. All across the world, the awareness from the IDPD transforms the rights and fundamental freedoms of everyone who realizes that individuals struggling with disabilities require similar responses to those who do not have disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities are still humans. Individuals with disabilities may use wheelchairs or not talk on the same level when having a long conversation due to their disability, but they are still human and should be regarded as such.
Those that have disabilities appreciate professionalism when they are referred to as a person with a disability or people with disabilities, rather than a disabled person. When addressing the disability through the correct terminology, this shows the individuals with disabilities more respect and puts them first before their disability.
The mental health industry treats many different individuals with different lived experiences and circumstances on a day-to-day basis. Incorporating the awareness of IDPD can help individuals and the workplace allow for quality respect while addressing and interacting with a person with a disability.
There are a few different ways to treat those with disabilities in the right manner and continue to give them the compassion and care they deserve, just like everyone else. A few etiquette interactions one can have with individuals with disabilities include:
Remembering individuals with disabilities are still human and talking to them as a person, eliminating outdated terms like disabled or handicapped from one's vocabulary. Put them first, before their disability.
Consider the response approach. When speaking to an individual with a disability, use eye contact and speech directly to the individual with a disability.
Speak to the individual as an adult and not as a child. Just because an individual has a disability does not mean that they want to feel like less of a person.
Question how to interact. If one is unsure how to talk to them, it is ok to ask them and wait for a response, even if they may seem like they are struggling. Do not assume they need help, but ask them as they are an individual without a disability.
Remember personal space and listen attentively. When speaking with an individual who has a disability, listening attentively and compassionately allows the door of communication to open up and develop a proper response. Additionally, when speaking, remember the personal space of the individual with a disability. Occasionally, the person with a disability may use their equipment as part of their bubble, and just like with everyone else, try not to pop that bubble or lean on it.
Consider a variety of behaviors and personalities. Individuals who have disabilities may seem relatable at first, but if one remembers to pick up on social cues and remember they are still human, their way of coping with their disability may be different from the next. While one individual may appear slow, another may have extensive energy. Some of the disabilities may not be in physical form, as there are individuals who have psychiatric disabilities or learning disabilities. Do not put all of the disabilities into one category and treat each individual as if they are a friend or family member.
As healthcare professionals in the mental health work sphere, remembering to relate to each individual regardless of their situations helps promote quality communication and awareness. Additionally, it helps show a higher level of respect, even for individuals who have disabilities. Every individual in the world deserves to have the same respect as others. As healthcare professionals, remembering to acknowledge International Day of Persons With Disabilities in the workplace helps with designing quality communication and encouraging positive experiences for you and everyone else around. At SokyaHealth, we recognize each individual as a human, regardless of their circumstances. Every individual deserves to have the opportunity to heal, and with our team, you can get the same level of respect that we give to our own. For more information about how we acknowledge International Day of Persons With Disabilities in the mental health workplace, reach out to us today at (877) 840-6956.