Friday, February 22, 2013


When I was little, the child care attendants at the school I attended, used to make me wait almost the entire day before helping me to the bathroom.  They had other duties that were more important such as working in the lunchroom.  They would become angry if I had an accident.  I was only six years old and these women were very intimidating.  Instead of understanding that It was difficult for me to wait as long as they expected me to, they got angry and made me feel  as though my having accidents was my fault.  Where was their compassion?

When the physical therapist at the school would stretch my legs and I would cry because it hurt she would say, "Oh, that doesn't hurt." How did she know?  Where was her compassion?  I was a little girl who was afraid and in pain. It would have been nice if she had let me know she was sorry for hurting me, but that the exercises were necessary to help my legs.

Anyone working with a person with a disability needs to have compassion.  They need to have empathy for the person's situation.. They need to be able to put themselves in the other person's shoes. They need to think about how they would feel if they were in a similar situation.

I mentioned the importance  of compassion briefly in my post titled I GET BY WITH A LITTLE HELP.   I wish there were classes in compassion.  Anyone working with a person with a disability would role play specific situations that a person with a disability deals with.  Through role playing would come understanding.  A person with a disability does not want pity, they want understanding..

Before my mom died, we had a caregiver who watched my mom struggle to prepare dinner for the two of us.  Since I was really the client and not my mom, the woman wasn't being paid to help her.  Because she wasn't being paid, I guess the woman felt she didn't have to help my mom. She didn't, but it would have been nice if she had. I was thankful she only worked for us one day.

Compassion.  It's simple.  Just treat a person with a disability the way you would want to be treated,  Listening to them + learning from them = understanding.