can I help?"
Probably one of the greatest
learnings for those of us with disabling conditions is how to request clearly--and
receive graciously--the help we need. As challenging as this task is for
us, the other side of it is equally challenging. As an able bodied individual,
how does one know when and how to offer help to differently
abled friends, loved ones and strangers.We have all heard--or been party
to--stories of persons getting their heads bitten off for offering unsolicited
assistance to disabled folks. But where are the stories of gratitude expressed
for receiving just the right helping hand at the perfect
time? Here are a few moments I remember...
to carry my decaf latte from the coffee shop counter to my table when you
saw I was using a walker.
before you helped me by pushing open the door I was having trouble with.
If you had come up from behind and simply pushed, it would have thrown
me off balance.
your pace to mine as we walked together, without making me feel uncomfortable
about moving so slowly.
up, gunning your motor, or honking when I was unable to make it across
the street and up on the curb before the light turned.
me carry my walker up the steps onto the bus and then--without my asking--coming
back to carry it off, even though it was not your stop.
your children play with my walker and ask me any questions they had about
why I use it.
to prepare a plate and bring me a drink at the buffet dinner and the cocktail
party. Then coming back later and asking if I wanted seconds or a refill.
can I help?" when you saw me fall...and then following my directions as
best you could.
positively with words or a smile to windchime walker and her decorations
when we passed on the street, in the restaurant or at the festival.
or loved one, occasionally asking how it is going for me, living with the
challenges of a chronic condition.
seeing the disability as only one aspect of my life, not my be-all
me to do for myself all that I can do...and encouraging me to push the
boundaries of what I think I can do.
me laugh...a lot.
Lay-Dorsey. Please use with attribution.
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