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  • Intellectual Disabilities

Intellectual Disabilities

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Proper Manners Concerning People with Intellectual Disabilities

At a restaurant

Choosing menu options
For people who are unable to read the menu, read the menu out loud so that they may makean informed choice. A menu that features pictures or images of the food rather than mere written descriptions can be more helpful, as people with intellectual disabilities can look at the images and make their choices more easily.
Paying the bill
Paying the bill is one of the tasks that people with intellectual disabilities find most difficult to handle. A non-disabled person should pay the bill on behalf of the disabled person, and keep the receipt to show the caregiver.

During conversations

People with intellectual disabilities may have difficulty with verbal communication, mispronouncing words and struggling to recall or pick the right words. Nevertheless, keep listening to them and try to ascertain their meaning. Non-disabled counterparts to the conversation should choose plain and easy words as much as possible and speak in a calm, slow tone, using bodily gestures to facilitate understanding if necessary. Refrain from using informal or contemptuous language; instead,use proper, formal language and manners befitting your conversation partners’ age and social status.

Recreational activities

Non-disabled persons erroneously assume that people with intellectual disabilities are also unable to experience the full range of emotions. On the contrary, they tend to be more sensitive and emotional than non-disabled persons. When engaging these persons in recreational activities, make sure to choose and design programs appropriate for their developmental status.

While engaging in recreational activities, make sure to avoid using expressions or jokes that you might use with your non-disabled friends, such as “You’re driving me nuts!”, “You’re an idiot,” or “You’re retarded.”

When teaching people with intellectual disabilities new recreational programs, repeat the instructions several times until they fully understand and master how the games are played.

Rendezvous outside

People with intellectual difficulties have difficulty using public transportation. If you are planning to rendezvous with them somewhere outside, make sure you pick a place they can find and get to easily. Ask for their caregivers’ permission in advance, and make sure they get home at a reasonable hour. After returning home, it would also be nice if you could call them at their homes to make sure they arrived safely.

Other concerns

People with intellectual rather than physical disabilities are healthy and functional, and therefore do not perceive themselves as disabled. In order to help these people, you should first readjust your perception of them as patients of some sort. You should also free yourself from the bias that only physical disabilities count as disabilities.

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