The Beijing Olympics organisers have released a Volunteers’ Guide for the upcoming Olympics. And the guide has a chapter on volunteering skills, including a guide on how to interact with people with disabilities. This is good, right? Education, sensitivity training, combatting a few myths and assisting volunteers to treat PWD as people?
There is plenty on decorum, image, posture, etiquette, taboos, and attitude; and a little bit on first aid and what to do in the event of a toxic gas attack, fire, or trample.
Then there’s section III. “Skills for Helping The Disabled”. Here are a few choice bits.
Paralympic athletes and disabled spectators are a special group. They have unique
personalities and ways of thinking.
I. Basic Skills
1. Understand Their Thinking
Often the optically disabled are introverted. They have deep and implicit feelings and seldom show strong emotions.
Physically disabled people are often mentally healthy. They show no differences in sensation, reaction, memorization and thinking mechanism from other people, but they might have unusual personalities because of disfigurement and disability. For example, some physically disabled are isolated, unsocial, and introspective; they usually do not volunteer to contact people. They can be stubborn and controlling; they may be sensitive and struggle with trust issues. Sometimes they are overly protective of themselves, especially when they are called “crippled” or “paralyzed”. It is not acceptable for others to hurt their dignity, so volunteers should make extra efforts to assist with due respect.
It is a language tool created for people who have hearing disabilities. It includes gesture language and finger language. Usually people call gesture language “silent language” or “hand gestures”, which has basic language functions, and is composed of a specific vocabulary and grammar system.
II. Good Attitudes and Requirements
(3) Helpful. Disabled people can be defensive and have a strong sense of inferiority. Sometimes volunteer’s own sincere actions might be regarded as disrespect- ful or demeaning and cause unintentional harm. Volunteers should respect disabled athletes and assist when asked.
(4) Understanding and patience. Some of the disabled are very sensitive. Other’s intentional words or actions might cause strong emotions. Volunteers should offer their understanding, patience and acceptance to avoid offense.
2. Serving the Disabled Is Different from Serving Other People
Where do I start?
[via The Australian]