Judge, not the noun, the verb, means to infer or form an opinion of something or someone. Also, to assume is to take for granted or without proof. Who wants judgement passed on them? Who wants others to assume the things that are less positive about them? It is doubtful that there are many among us that would want that kind of unwarranted attention.
However, many people living with disabilities, whether they are physical, mental or emotional, are judged and people assume that they are unaware. People with disabilities are often looked down upon in our society. They are oftentimes neglected and abused. How do we go through life without passing judgment onto others or assuming something that may or may not be? It is not easy but, it is something we need to practice.
I cannot help thinking back to a previous post I made on speaking to people with disabilities. It may seem as if the person in front of you with a visible/ physical disAbility cannot understand. Or because of one's lack of education, knowledge and understanding, assumptions and judgments take precedent. "I won't bother speaking, they can't talk" or "they may not understand what I'm saying". Not once asking the caregiver, if the person understands or can communicate!
Last Thursday (8/28), Kerstin went to a new doctor at United Cerebral Palsy-Birmingham, the Life Without Limits clinic. The atmosphere in the office was so welcoming! Dr. Law came in and introduced himself, we did the same. It always makes me smile when I see Kerstin smiling at a new introduction. Dr. Law did what I'm sure most of us want our children to witness on new encounters, the person talking directly to them. After all, we are there because it is her appointment. He turned to me and asked, how does she communicate, I explained and talked about her Dynavox.
What happened next was poignant. Dr. Law said that he asked about her communication because one of his greatest fears is that he would meet someone and they had no way of communicating, or no one understood their communication. He went on to say that so many times there is something there and people just need a way to get it out! How true! He even made a movie suggestion, one I had never heard of, My Left Foot. The story of Christy Brown born with Cerebral Palsy and he could only control his left foot. Brown went on to become an artist and author. The movie stars Daniel Day-Lewis and is a must order for us!
Don't assume and please don't judge! Ask questions. It is okay to communicate...you never know what can be offered!