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Post Reply Your experiences with disabled people
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F / Australia
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 1/13/15
I just thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss. I did search, but sorry if this is a double-up.

Have you ever interacted with someone who has a disability (physical or mental)? Perhaps you have a relative who is in a wheelchair? Or a friend who has ADHD? Maybe you have a disability yourself? Even just having worked with a disabled person for one day and then never seeing them again after that counts. Share your stories here!

I, for one, have Asperger's Syndrome. I often get involved with disability groups, so a number of my friends all have Asperger's or something similar. It's great because one of the main traits of Asperger's is social awkwardness (watching Watamote was painful), so we usually find it easier to relate to and connect with each other.

I also have an auditory processing disorder. Basically, my ears and my brain don't like to cooperate. I tend to mishear things a lot. This, combined with the Asperger's problem of difficulty understanding abstract concepts, makes taking in verbal instructions hard. It's much easier for me to understand and remember written instructions or a hands-on demonstration. Also, I find it hard to tune out background noise, which can make work tough if there's a lot of things going on in the background. I can't count the number of times I've had to ask customers to repeat themselves because of it. My friends often find it weird that I watch English-language movies with subtitles, but if I don't, I'll probably mishear something, which is the last thing I want if I'm watching something with a complicated plot.

There was a girl at my school who had Cerebral Palsy, and sadly, she was a popular target for bullying because of it. We were better described as acquaintances rather than friends, but we did talk pretty often. She was a very fun, kind girl, and I tended to get on the defence when someone tried to pick on her. There was one boy in our class who gave up because I and a couple of others in the class would give him snarky retorts when he insulted her.

Another girl had spine problems, and had been in a wheelchair for most of her life. She was very sweet, and even students from other classes who didn't know her greeted her when she went past. We were both in the school's book club, and everyone there liked to talk with her.

Yeah, my stories aren't too special. So what are your experiences?
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19 / M / Ljubljana, Slovenia
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Posted 11/17/13
I have two cousins that are both mentally disabled, one is about 40 and the other is 15. They both act like they're about 8 years old, so it can be hard to deal with them because of tantrums and such, but I love them all the same. One that is a bit more of a sensitive subject is my grandfather, who had Alzheimer's Disease. He passed away almost exactly two years ago from this date from falling one day and causing some damage to his brain. He had Alzheimer's for about half of my life with him, so I didn't know him to the extent that I would have liked to, but I have some very cherished memories with him. Once the disease was in full bloom, he didn't remember simple daily tasks, his own name, or the names and faces of his entire family. All knowledge, whether logical or academic, was completely lost along with his memories. A few times closer to his death he was able to say some of our names, but it was unusual. He also had trouble speaking, and we barely got a sentence longer than two words. Because of what happened to him and what I had to watch him go through, total amnesia has become my worst fear and I would rather have my brains scattered across the floor than to live an entire second with it. Anyways, both of our stories are special, because that's what makes us who we are.
Posted 11/17/13
I would write something but I actually don't know what their disabilities are usually called. It always slips my mind to ask or be aware of it since I end up having a blast with other people if I'm up for it, doesn't matter who.
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Posted 11/17/13
I just treat them as if they do not have the disability. Ofcourse this is hard when the person in question is mentally retarded. In those cases i try my best to avoid them as I honestly do not know how to deal with them.
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M / Europe
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Posted 11/17/13
It hurts if it happens to someone you used to spend time with almost half your life.

From when I was small, I've had this dutch grandmother in name, who used to visit us every single week. She is so nice, and always carried us, had fun with us and let us do anything we wanted with her.



Now she's almost 100, disabled and can't walk anymore. I literally cried when I saw her in a chair after seeing her for the first time in like 8-9 years again and felt so bad for not seeing her more often when I could.
Posted 11/17/13
I Work in a hospital, so it's inevitable that I would have to interact with patients with conditions; Cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy, Trisomy 21, and so many other conditions I can't recall at this moment.

I've never worked with children who have conditions before, but I'm a very understanding person so naturally I get along fine with them.

I understand that they do things they can't really control, like hit me in the face or cry out loud when I touch them. I'm a very understanding person so none of their action really offend me.
Posted 11/17/13
I had two friends (they were brothers) in highschool and most of college who had muscular dystrophy. I'd say I spent a lot of time with them both in school and out. Sadly though they both passed away.
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31 / M / Seattle, WA
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13
I get to deal with a person with a disability every day. Myself. Having Cerebral Palsy can be a bit of a drag, but you adapt and deal with it. Advice for dealing with them? Just treat them as if they don't have any issues. You certainly don't ever have to feel sorry for them as what did you have to do with them having issues? People without mental/physical disabilities have their own problems as well. We all have our problems.

I would ask if you read this though to do what the OP did if you're in a similar situation. Stick up for someone with a mental or physical disability if you see that kind of bullying. I always had friends in school who had my back in those cases, but not every disabled person is so lucky. Avoiding them is definitely the worst thing you can do. If you can't deal with them, learn how to. Shunning them is just cowardice and makes me wonder who really has the disability in that case.

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32 / M
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Posted 11/17/13
I was born with I have Cerebral Palsy, which has rendered me unable to talk or walk, confining me to a wheelchair. In addition, I only have full use of my right arm, with the dexterity of my left hand probably being about 25% of my right. Even so, I do not let it stop me from doing what I love. Yes, I've been picked on and whatnot, but you learn to not let it bother you, and even use the "bullying" to fuel you to make liars out of them.
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26 / M
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13
My experiences with disabled people haven't been so positive. During my early years the faculty at the school i attended believed i had autism due to being unable to behave much of the time in classes (due to boredom and minor depression, which i didn't even realise was depression until later). So they sent me to a special ed school where i was often bullied and was very lonely since everyone around me was rather...odd and hostile to say the least. Since i am either high functioning or don't even have autism, i couldn't fit in with the nicer pupils since we couldn't have proper conversations since they had moderate to severe (mostly this was the case) mental disabilities which made communication and positive interaction almost impossible. I lost my friends after leaving that school since they got angry at me for...get this...swearing. That's right, people at the age of 15, having issues with swearing, i am not kidding. I since went to another special ed school due to the lack of places at better schools, and those went very poorly for the same reasons i mentioned. Over in the UK i am pretty sure many of the people sent to those places don't even have autism, they are just unable to handle mainstream or have behavioral issues they don't wish to fix (i did, mainly due to the conditioning the schools gave me which rendered me an overly sensitive person unable to properly stand up for himself since they kept punishing me, wanting me to be a people pleaser).

I would talk about a specific one, but im afraid there are too many to name. Plus i regret spending those years at these places, thankfully i am moving on to better educational places since those schools were awful for my education. I hope this didn't offend anyone since i often do without even intending to, its like a curse with me lol.

But let me say this, i have nothing against disabled people, i just don't like being forced to be surrounded by them when it doesn't do my social skills any good or it makes me unhappy with the lack of more ordinary people for me to talk to.
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22 / M / Livingston, Louis...
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Posted 11/17/13
I'm disabled myself I guess (Asperger's Syndrome, Bipolar, ADHD, ADD, tons of other shit), and I have and had a few other friends who are as well. Knew a guy with Down Syndrome, most kind-hearted dude I ever met. Knew a few other friends who had Autism or Down Syndrome. They were some of the coolest friends I had.

I could probably say they were some of the greatest people I ever met. They didn't know how to hate, or insult people, and they could do no harm, well, not intentionally. They were such good-hearted people. Innocent, naive, pure, good-hearted people. Wish I could have said the same for even half the people I knew in high school. They're also REALLY REALLY smart, but they can't really show that. Although generally I think it's been proven or something that people with Autism/Asperger's(high-functioning form of Autism) and Down's Syndrome are extremely smart, they just have harder times displaying such intelligence. My excuse is pure laziness, the most unfiltered form of procrastination and an inability to sympathize with work if I can't see how it relates to my future.

Kindest memories of my high-school years right there.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 11/17/13
I'm mentally disable[ADHD/bipolar and depression].

I've met countless of physically and mentally disable people but the experience isn't different in any way. Those moments weren't negative nor positive just interesting.

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26 / M
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Posted 11/17/13

qualeshia3 wrote:

I'm mentally disable[ADHD/bipolar and depression].

I've met countless of physically and mentally disable people but the experience isn't different in any way. Those moments weren't negative nor positive just interesting.



Bipolar and Depression are not mental disabilities, if that was the case almost 90% of the planet would be labeled as such.

But you are right about how the moments are not positive or negative, most of the time it feels this way...and it feels empty too, so it causes me to be depressed ironically.
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 11/17/13 , edited 11/17/13


Mental disorder is what I meant to put(its not the same though).

Aside from that little mistake, yeah I never truly know how to feel about things like that.
reviek 
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Posted 11/17/13
My mom has RSD. In a nutshell, her nerve switches are turned on all the time sending pain throughout her body. It's brutal.

I've also worked with autism at a preschool.
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