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How Non-Disabled Allies Can Help Make Society Inclusive

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I do my best to adopt a “know better and do better” motto for life and I hope most others do also. The following is a list of things I want people to know, do or ask to help make society more inclusive. I hope others will add to the list in the comments!

1. Ask questions and really listen to people with disabilities and their caregivers.

The only way to really know what our needs are is to hear us out. Please give us a voice.

2. Please don’t say “no” due to lack of funding.

If that really is the reason, let us know who we can talk to to get the funding or meet with us to find creative ways to save money while still offering the service!

3. Don’t place limits on us.

Yes, people with disabilities often need accommodations, but only the person themselves should decide what their limits are.

4. Do not assume that everyone with a specific diagnosis is the same.

We are all different — celebrate our individuality.

5. Over-communicate.

The more you share about your venue, program, or product, the easier it is for us to make an informed decision.

6. Disability accommodations are not special treatment.

They are essential practices to keep people with disabilities from sitting on the sidelines.

7. The needs people with disabilities have are not “special” — they are basic human needs.

Some additional effort and funding may be needed to accommodate these basic needs and the lack thereof should not be an excuse.

8. Do not upcharge products and services, even if they cost more.

People with disabilities and their families often have significant expenses and therefore cannot afford to pay more and should not have to pay more than others for similar products and services.

9. See us.

See the disability also, but not just that. See our personalities, see who we are. Celebrate us as a whole person.

10. Society benefits from inclusion.

People with disabilities have a lot to offer, just like everyone else. Let’s be a whole community!

Let’s work together to create a more inclusive world!

Originally published: August 23, 2022
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