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.

We're hoping to do more this time around 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. Questions, questions, questions. We all have questions in life. It’s usually OK to ask someone if they might need help (crossing the road for example). But just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean you should ask them intrusive or personal questions. Some people might be happy to chat about why they use a wheelchair, others might not. Everyone’s different! 
  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.
Share these tips with friends and family and help us End the Awkward.

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

More tips

Need more help ending the awkward? Next, learn how to talk about disability.