This video was developed with the support of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Helsinki Citizens Assembly, and Open Society Foundations Armenia. A transcript of the video is available below.
There are around 200,000 persons with disabilities living in Armenia, who have different difficulties. They make up around 7% of the population. People often do not know how to behave and involuntarily create awkward situations when interacting with persons with disabilities.
I am Heghine. I use a walker and have been down that road before. People often try to help those with visible disabilities, even if they do not need that help. Touching one’s wheelchair, walking stick or any other assistive device without the person’s consent is just as wrong as touching their body. Personal space is important to everyone.
If you want to help, first ask if they need assistance. If the answer yes, ask how. If we are going somewhere together, let’s walk at the same speed.
“Cann she…?”, “Does she want to…?” Do not ask these questions to the person accompanying me. If the question is about me, ask me, and not the person accompanying me or the sign language interpreter.
Avoiding difficult words and speaking clearly will help when communicating with anyone, even a person with no impairments.
It is important to remember that not all health issues are visible. A biased opinion about having or not having a disability can impede communication.
Following this simple advice will help me participate in social life and will also help you to have one more customer, employee, citizen and maybe a friend.