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A Reminder About the Challenges the Disabled Community May Face During Holiday Socializing

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As the holidays come closer I am not only thinking about the day of the event and what to say to when dreaded questions are asked, I also think about how socializing with relatives and others will go given that socializing can be (and is) a real challenge for some folks, including myself.

Most people don’t think much about the challenge of socializing at family and holiday gatherings beyond the dreaded questions, but for those with certain disabilities the thought process goes further since socializing is not easy as it is for most people. So on behalf of those who find socializing to be a confusing, daunting task, please consider our social needs.

If your loved one can only talk to people for so long before they don’t want to, please respect that since the, “I don’t want to talk to X person,” is most likely them trying to say, “My social battery needs to recharge.” If your loved one is nonverbal and is reluctant to use their communication device when heavily prompted, leave them be. No one likes to be forced to talk, especially in front of an audience. If your loved one doesn’t understand sarcasm, idioms or anything along those lines, respect it by not using them when you are talking to them. It will make them feel less nervous and more confident during the conversation.

Regardless of you or your loved one’s social needs, respecting them and other needs that are present can make the holidays and events easier and enjoyable for them. It can be hard to remember at times (especially when things get hectic or when relatives aren’t as understanding), but respecting social needs and encouraging others to do so will make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone. No one has to worry about getting in trouble, feeling awkward or facing any other consequence if social needs are respected, which in turn, is a formula for a smooth, healthy and happy holiday for everyone.


Photo credit: Yury Karamanenko/Getty Images

Originally published: November 19, 2019
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