At Evergreen Life Services, we always treat the people we serve as individuals. Everyone is different. Everyone deserves acceptance and understanding. Everyone should be empowered to live their lives with as much independence and joy as possible. And most importantly, everyone matters.

For some people, interacting with an individual who has a disability can feel uncomfortable or awkward. They don’t want to say or do the wrong thing. They’d like to help, but they don’t want to offend or assume that the individual with a disability wants or needs help. They have questions, but they don’t know how to ask.

Here are eight things that people with disabilities want you to know to help you understand their needs and how to best interact with them with dignity and compassion.

  1. We want and need the same things that everybody does, including respect.
  2. Focus on us as individuals, not our disability.
  3. Before trying to help, please ask us first.
  4. As much as we’re able, we want to make our own decisions.
  5. Remember the Golden Rule: Please treat us the way you’d like to be treated.
  6. We want to be happy, just like you.
  7. We are human and have feelings just like you, so please don’t stare.
  8. Please be empathetic, but don’t overwhelm us with pity.


To learn more about how you can help support Evergreen Life Services and enrich the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, contact us today!

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