Managing Expectations with Better Communication
Irecently had this thought about expectation and communication. Have you ever wondered why it is that even when we communicate on a stellar level, our exceptions of what the result will be in the end are sometimes less than stellar? I think this topic is a multi-layered one, especially when you're dealing with the disability community and the medical field. That carries over to the general population.
Why is it when we turn 17 or 18 years of age that the conversation goes from, "How can we help?" to saying something along the lines of, "We've done all we can, it's up to you now."
When you're a young adult and you're about to enter the real word for the first time, where do you turn? Most importantly, to whom do you turn? Not everyone is college material, and what about when your disability puts you into that gray area of not severe enough and too independent? What happens when your footing is above the line that society has laid out for the disability community?
Cookie-Cutter Outlook on Disability Breeds Miscommunication
Thus, this marks the beginning of when the lines between communication and expectation begin to blur and overlap with one another. This is where I personally started my journey of laying the trail of breadcrumbs to learn how to self-navigate the real world. Unbeknownst to me, I was also learning how to self-advocate and stand up for myself. But like anything worthwhile, that would be a long process that involved a lot of miscommunication and falling through the cracks of the state and their lukewarm services.
I think we run into problems because education and research literally stops when you're of legal age. The conversation stops, and you go from being guided to trial and error on our end. People need the tools to know how to not only help us, but how to communicate WITH us and NOT AT US. I know that there has been some debate about whether or not it's our responsibility to teach society the ins and outs of the disability community. I believe it is. What isn't our responsibility if they understand it.
That's their choice. They chose to enlighten themselves or not. It's when they refuse to learn because they feel just and right in their stance on the subject that I call that chosen ignorance. If we were led to go this journey with little no resource, then we are even more driven to lead and give examples of what our vital needs are, and how they should be met. It is far past time to demolish the cookie cutter standard society has in the disability community.
I strongly believe that this cookie cutter approach that society takes toward the disability community is the core reason for the poor or lack commutation between society and the differently-abled community. While words have power, I believe the approach on how we convey what we desire to change and/or improve is just an important. It can either lead or mislead someone. And that is where careful thought should be put forth.
"If I was in their situation, how would I interpret this? Or how would I feel if someone said that to me? Would I be able to do that myself if I were in the same situation, etc.?" I believe if we improve our communication skills among the differently-abled society then our exceptions have a better shot at improving as well.
We can just talk about it, we need to put thought and action into what we want to improve. And commutation and action can only lead to our desire and expectation to change things for the better.
About the Author:
Jessica Niziolek is a disability activist and freelance writer. She is passionate about helping people and has made it her mission to make the silent and dismissed are seen and heard. She believes these voices are what the world needs to hear, especially in today's climate. She loves coffee and the written word, and believes in the power of music to heal. Read more from Jessica at her new blog, Abler: Equality for the Disabled.
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