“Don’t assume that because a person has a disability, they are in need of assistance. If a person appears to need assistance, ask first.”That’s some solid advice for muggles. Here's some advice for the disabled:
To a great extent, you are in charge of these situations. The bystanders are uncomfortable, uninformed, out of their element, and looking for guidance. Take charge and guide them.
People desperately want to help, and they typically fall into one of three categories:
This porridge is too hot: They help without asking. They over-help. When you encounter this variety, using a pleasant but firm voice, say something to the effect of, “Thank you so much for offering to help, but it’s important to me that I do this myself.” Don’t just sit there and let them make you uncomfortable.
This porridge is too cold: Due to an irrational fear of offending, they don’t offer to help, and may even appear disinterested while you struggle to get your coat on. But if you need help, and you can get their attention, ask them. They almost always jump at the opportunity.
This porridge is just right: They ask if they can help and respond accordingly. Be thankful when you encounter this variety.
No porridge at all: They are lost in their cell phone, and you’re invisible to them. Typically 25 years old or younger.
Kim is my blog proofreader. Her comment on this post was, “If you are employing the Goldilocks and the Three Bears analogy, does that make you Goldilocks?”
“Shut up. I am not Goldilocks.”
“Am not,” and so forth, long into the night.