Today is PurpleTuesday which puts a spotlight onto opportunities for businesses if they have a better understanding of how people with disabilities or long-term health conditions live their lives.
One of the first issues we often find is that people fear they may unintentionally offend by saying or doing the wrong thing, which typically means avoiding conversations with disabled people altogether! Mike Adams, Chief Executive of Purple explained in this clip from his appearance on the Victoria Derbyshire’s programme how shop staff ignored him.
This might be because disability used to be defined as a ‘medical model’, focusing on what an individual cannot do. Thankfully this is now replaced by the ‘social model’: the issue is the inaccessible world that disabled people live and work in.
One way we can all help is to change our perception of disability through our language. It is based on a very simple premise – treat the person in front of you as you would wish to be treated! Put the individual before the disability or health-condition. An obvious example: speak directly to the person (even when they have an interpreter or companion with them) in a normal tone of voice. Ask yourself how you would feel if people always asked your companion rather than you directly what you would like to do.
So here’s a challenge for PurpleTuesday – take a look at the graphic below and learn how to say ‘Hello, how are you?’ in British Sign Language.