Exposure Breeds Comfort
For many people who have little exposure or experience with a disabled individual, the initial focus of the new relationship, unfortunately, is on the disability. As we have come to know, getting truly acquainted with someone takes much more than concentrating on physical characteristics. Focusing on the disability instead of the inner-beauty and personality causes uneasiness. A true and lasting relationship will take much longer to develop. If the disability is deafness, you may become very self-conscious about what you are not saying or communicating with your hands. If the disability is blindness, you may become self-conscious about pointing or saying phrases such as “see you later,” and so on. The truth is that you will probably be uneasy until your relationship has had time to develop. Focusing on a disability will only cause delay in your maturing relationship. Consider this, that you too, must be yourself in order for the good and healthy relationship to properly develop. This is true of all relationships, not simply with the disabled. In a “normal” relationship, factors such as gender, age, race, and physical features seem very pronounced when we first meet. These features quickly become secondary, and we eventually lose awareness of them completely. The same can and should be true when getting to know the disabled. Be at ease. Be yourself. Treat your new-found friend the same way that you would like to be treated. That’s the best way to develop and nurture a relationship that is long and lasting.
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