Helping the Handicapped

by Arnold Nelson

      I have spent more than 50 years around handicapped people and I think I know what I'm talking about. There are some things the so-called normal people should know about handicapped people. First off, I have a sister in a wheelchair. She says she's not disabled. She is just differently abled. I have to believe her, because I have seen her do as much if not more than most people who have two good legs

      When you see a handicapped person and they are having trouble it is a natural thing to go up and asked if you can help them, and there's nothing wrong with that. You have to listen to what they say and do what they ask. Most of them don't want help, they want to do as much as they can, by themselves. It gives them a feeling of independence and they want and need that because so often they have to depend on others. Most of them are not afraid ask for help when they need it.

     There is a lady that comes in the store, where I work, quite often. She has no legs, and she's in the manual wheelchair. She grabs her cart and pushes a card around and pushes her chair around and she seemed to have a good time doing the shopping. For her, just getting out of the house a little bit is probably something that makes her day better. One day a customer came up to me and said that lady needs help. You need to go over and get somebody to help her. I said that lady does not want any help. If she did, she would ask. She may be slow, but she gets around and gets her shopping done and she enjoys herself, I think. The customer just walked out. I don't think he'd been around many handicapped people.

      That incident is what gave me the idea to write this article. I have seen too many people trying to help the handicapped and refusing to take no for an answer. When the handicapped get help they don't want it just upsets them. They have enough problems. They don't need more. If I could stress one thing, it would be when a handicapped person says no, you need to believe it and walk away. I will say it one more time. Handicapped people like to have as much independence as they can. They like to do as much as they can on their own, so please please let them.

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