Sunday, March 8, 2009


I originally posted this on my previous blog, on October 20, 2007:

Physical impairment does not equal mental impairment.
I use a walker, and my movements are slow, and laborious. Many people assume that my mental functions are also slow and laborious. People often speak very loudly to me - apparently assuming that since I move slowly I must be hard of hearing; and/or speak to me as though I were 2 years old. These same folks are consistently surprised when I speak to them as an adult, with some college - which is what I am. The Speak Loudly When Doubting the Person Can Understand You syndrome is one I have never understood. Speaking to me as though I were a 2 year old, I think, is because they are assuming that since I cannot walk normally, I cannot think normally. Assumptions.

Please don't assume. Being in a wheelchair; using a cane; using walker; all signify only one thing: that person needs mobility aid. Being unable to speak clearly means that there is a physical impairment of one's ability to speak, not that there is an impairment to one's ability to think; to understand; and to feel.

If you don't want to say "Hello" or "How are you?" to a disabled person, I hope it is because you aren't the type of person to say "Hello" or "How are You?" to strangers, not because that person is disabled. When you speak to a disabled person, speak to them on your level, just as you would an able-bodied person. If we don't understand you, we will let you know...just as an able-bodied person would.



  1. Wonderful post and so very true. Thank you for the perspective- I hope many people read it and learn!

  2. Thank you, Jennie, for reading my blog, and taking time to post your comment!