Ending the awkward

The basics

Awkward moments? Life can be full of them! Meeting your in-laws, office parties, and around disability too.  If you’ve ever felt awkward about talking to someone who’s disabled, don’t worry. You’re not alone, help’s at hand.

It’s time to end the awkward.  We can all do it.  Keep these five things in mind and you can’t go far wrong.  Above all, remember they’re a person - just like you.


  1. See the person, not just their impairment. He’s Pete who likes pub quizzes and Coen Brothers films, not “that guy in the wheelchair”.
  2. Try not to make assumptions about what someone can do, how they live or how being disabled affects them.  You’d hate it if someone made assumptions without getting to know you, right?
  3. Unsure or need to know something? Ask! Do it respectfully of course. 
  4. Accept what the disabled person says about themselves and their impairment. Remember they know themselves better than you do.
  5. Remember not all conditions are visible. Things like epilepsy you can’t see by looking at someone.

See how you can apply these ideas to a load of common situations.

Got an awkward moment not covered here, and want to find out how to handle it? Email awkward@scope.org.uk. We'll do our best to help.

This content was developed with help from several Disabled People's Organisations.