According to the WHO, more than one billion people, about 15% of the wellmuth.de‘s population, have some form of disability. While disability is a natural part of the human experience, history shows that these people have always been underestimated, mistreated and not valued in society. This is due to false stereotypes, outdated attitudes, and segregation surrounding disability in general.
Society has made progress but more needs to be done. Inclusion is one of the best ways society can help people with disabilities. If you’re a business owner and are considering helping those with disabilities, there are many routes you can take.
Here are just some of the ways you can make society more inclusive for everyone.
1. Treat People with Disabilities with Respect
The first and the most important things to know is knowing the right way to behave around someone with a disability. This may not be as intuitive as you may think, but anyone can learn and follow these tips. Often times, people speak and behave in ways that are disrespectful to people with disabilities without knowing, causing people with disabilities anger, annoyance or frustration. So how can you be more empathised and show respect to persons with disabilities?
Here are some general rules for helping all people with disabilities:
- Always ask someone before offering help. A common response of many people when they meet a person with a disability is to give them help. While this gesture may seem kind, you could be getting into their way.
- Don’t be offended if they decline your offer.
- If a person accepts your offer of help, listen to what they want you to do, and after helping them, go about your business. Don’t start questioning them about their disability, never.
- You listen to their needs, engage with them as equals and make the world as inclusive as possible. This is the cornerstone of how to help someone with disability.
- Ask yourself, what is the best way of helping someone with disability?
- Always treat someone with a disability exactly as you would treat anyone else, and the way you would like to be treated yourself. If you don’t, how can you show respect to persons with disabilities.
- Never compromise the independence of a person with disabilities, or prevent them from struggling with a task they want to do because it is part of their rehabilitation.
- Never make assumptions about disabilities or how they manifest.
- Don’t stare; you won’t get any answers that way.
- Never patronises disabled person.
- A mistake people often make with the elderly is also repeated with people with a disability: talking to others about them as though they aren’t present.
- You shouldn’t be discussing anything about a disabled person with a third-party unless you have the express permission to do so from the person you are speaking about.
- Avoid petting a service dog, leaning or playing with a person’s wheelchair, and using handicap services if you’re not disabled.
2. Appreciate the Buying Power of Consumers with Disability
As someone who runs a business, you have to know that consumers with disabilities love to shop and spend money as much as any other person. Statistics show that this minority group has a spending power of £250 billion a year and the figure is rising due to the increase in their average household income. Unfortunately, businesses are missing out on this opportunity.
Taking notice and appreciating this population’s spending power can be one of the best business moves you can make. Also, changing your attitude and making simple upgrades at your business premises like making aisles wide enough and installing tactile buttons at the checkout can help foster an inclusive environment for disabled people.
3. Employ People with Disability
For those with disabilities, the job search can be especially daunting. People with disability are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people. While more than a million disabled people in the UK can and want to work, they continue to come up against inaccessible work environments and employers’ poor attitudes. These barriers result in a scandalous waste of talent that stops disabled people from realising their ambitions.
Embracing diversity and fostering inclusion by employing people with disability is good for your business. A diverse workplace leads to increased innovation and productivity which makes you more competitive in the marketplace.
4. Provide College Scholarships to Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities often have a larger financial burden than their peers without disabilities. This is because they have a high cost of living that’s attributed to prohibitively expensive specialised equipment and medical care. Unfortunately, these costs are not met by federal and state programs that serve people with disability because the financial need of disabled students exceeds the maximum awards in various programs.
Providing college scholarship is one of the best ways to offer help for someone with disability. It allows disabled students to meet the special needs associated with daily life and academic life. Scholarship programs also increase your brand awareness among student and in your local market.
5. Work With Organisations That Help People with Disabilities
One of the easiest ways to help people with disabilities is to donate to charities. Making charitable donations not only helps those in need, but it also offers several tax credits that can help you save money. Charity can be monetary contributions or in other forms like real estate, vehicles, patents, and stocks.
Another great way to offer help is to offer services to organisations of and for persons with disabilities. This may include training services, supplying equipment, and repair services. You can also work with organisations looking for partners for events and joint projects.
Before you make donations, research the charity to make sure that it is real. Several agencies offer databases, reports, and tips that can help you evaluate the operation of charities. Some agencies worth checking out include the attorney general’s office in your state and the Better Business Bureau. The former has records of licensed charitable organisations and the latter offers reports about how charities work and use their funds.
Millions of disabled people are excluded from being part of our society. Outdated attitudes and access issues mean these people are often shut out from activities many people take for granted such as popping to stores, visiting restaurants and going to their workplace. However, these problems are easy to fix. By changing our attitudes, training staff and adapting our buildings, we’ll be on our way to achieving everyday equality.
Author the Author
Paige Ellingson is a graduate in business and communication who recently works as a content creator based in SE Asia. She enjoys writing about personal growth and startups for the most part in her writing journey. This article about how to make a better society for people with disabilities and how to show respect comes courtesy of Open Minds, an Australian-based organisation who committed to supporting people living with mental illness, disability or acquired brain injury.