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Etiquette Guide: Interacting with the Mentally Disabled

Etiquette Guide: Interacting with the Mentally Disabled

When you are meeting a person with disabilities for the first time, you may find yourself at a loss on how to correctly interact with them. At our rest home in Worcester, Massachusetts, we understand how this can be a challenging experience for some people. We have been assisting clients with different forms of disabilities, and so we know that there are certain respectful practices that can promote better communication and interaction.

When it comes to mental disabilities, it’s very important to practice patience and empathy so that you can be able to spend quality time with the person. With that, here are helpful etiquettes you can apply when you’re with someone who has mental or developmental disabilities:

  • Keep in mind that the person’s disability may have affected their literacy abilities
    They may be unable to read, write, count, or even process information that much. For this reason, it’s very important to be gentle in interacting with them without referring much to these skills. If you like, you can try reading to them but avoid highlighting their deficiencies.
  • Remember that developmental disabilities are rarely obvious in the person’s physical manifestations
    You may even mistake the person to have normal communication abilities. Avoid this assumption as you may resort to disrespectful responses and frustrated feelings. As providers of senior care in Massachusetts, we still recommend patience and empathy as your main tools.
  • Stay in areas where there are lesser distractions
    The person with a developmental disability can be easily distracted by loud noise, television programs, or other noise in the background. This can affect your time together. Ensure that the person is in a peaceful and comfortable environment so they can also respond properly.
  • Make use of non-verbal communication
    At times, words are not going to be comprehensible to people with developmental disabilities. If you can make use of non-verbal methods such as a pat on the back or a tap on the hands, these may be helpful. Just make sure that the person is comfortable with these gestures.
  • Exercise patience when waiting for their response
    They may take time to process their words or ideas in response to what you’re going to say. It’s very important that you’re aware of this reality so you can wait for what they’re going to say and be able to give gentle responses in return. Along with this, they may also be very anxious when in social settings. The same patience is also needed to handle these behaviors.

There are still many ways that you can properly interact with persons with developmental disabilities. If you need further assistance in this matter, our experienced staff at Donna Kay Rest Home can be of help to you. Along with that, we can also provide you with respite care when you need someone to care for your loved one with a developmental disability while you take a break.

Would you like to know more about our services? Feel free to connect with us.

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