Talk Tuesday: Wondering Why You Don’t Say Hi…

In a previous blog post titled, “Spare The Stare”, I wrote about how uncomfortable it is when people fixate their eyes on those with disabilities. The staring can make a person feel out of place. But let’s take it a step further by viewing another scenario that people with disabilities find themselves facing; the complete breakdown of communication. Not only do people stare, you may notice that they don’t talk to you either. There is a thick, heavy fog in the air; you feel like people don’t see you, you feel invisible.
Can you imagine having people talk around you, rather than directly to you? I’ll tell you it is not a fun feeling, and can be quite isolating. It seems as though when communicating with those with disabilities, people cannot find that middle road; for them, it is an either or situation. Either they stare out of curiosity, or ignore the person with the disability, out of fear that they will say/do something offensive.
A simple solution to this barrier is for people to remember and keep telling themselves that those with disabilities are human beings just like them. Human beings with feelings, and who enjoy social interaction as they do. They need not to worry about saying the wrong thing to those with disabilities because not saying anything at all, is the thing that is hurtful.
In efforts to create awareness about this growing issue, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation launched a national campaign, Just Say Hi. To reach a broad audience of people, the foundation put out a series of short videos featuring celebrities, who offer guidance on how to hold a conversation with those who have a disability. To start a conversation, all you have to do is say hi, and you might be surprised to find that carrying on a conversation with a person who has a disability is a lot easier than you thought.
To check out the Just Say Hi campaign videos, visit Watch The “Just Say Hi” Compilation Reel

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