How to Support People with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities

b6Disability is a state in which the ability to perform a particular function is absent. Disability can occur in different ways. And the most pronounced are physical and cognitive impairments. Physical disabilities are physical conditions that impair the daily activities of a person. The term disability has individual variation. What can be seen as an incapacity in someone may be not have any negatively functional effects on another person. Some people were born with the incapacitation while some had the impairment much later in life. A person can be said to be physically disabled when they cannot properly walk, talk, see, hear or speak. Some people can have lost the practical use of their hands. And problems with the bones and muscles may cause a part of the body to lose its function.                                          

Cognitive disabilities have to do with impairment in the function of the brain. It has a lot to do with the intellectual and adaptation capabilities of a person.  A person with this condition will have limited ability to understand, think and plan daily tasks. The individual may also have problems with dressing skills, eating etiquette, comprehending rules, or solving fundamental problems. Also, lack of personal care skills is common. An example of this condition is Down syndrome.

It is very apparent from the above explanation that people with physical and cognitive disabilities need help and care from the public, governments, health institutions, and private individuals. Their condition has the greater influence on the state of their mind. Without the right support system, they can find it difficult to enjoy good living. Depending on the type of their inability, they need the help of people that have the ability they lack to help them pull through life. Various ways to support individuals living with physical and cognitive impairment are as follows:

Providing Healthcare: People with these disabilities need regular medical check-ups. Although some were born with these conditions, several of these conditions were as a result of accidents or some inexplicable health problems. Medical help can assist them get much better. The government has a responsibility to make life easy for them; therefore, getting medical care from any hospital should always be a pleasurable experience for them. If they have attention priority at the hospitals, they will be delighted to go there.

Treating Them As Equals: A disabled person is a human being like you. Do not segregate them. Treat them as equals. They deserve all that accrues to a person without a disability. Do not try to shut a dumb person up. When you notice that a deaf person has an opinion about something and needs a way to communicate it, get him/her a pen and paper. Whatever the mouth can say, we assure you that sometimes, a pen can say it better. All in all, support them by making them happy and fulfilled.

Assisting Them Financially: To be of assistance, you can assist the disabled by financing them. Physical disabilities can prevent someone from being able to get jobs, and some have restrictions on the kind of jobs they are permitted to do. People with cognitive impairments, depending on the severity, have the limitation in the workplace. Due to these, they will have difficulty in their finances. They need money as much as you do. They need to feed, wear clothes and shoes, and have a roof over their head, among other needs. Make donations for them whether through welfare organization or give it to them personally. They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Communicating with Them: Talk to them politely. When talking to people with cognitive disabilities, do not assume they will not understand you. Speak audibly and use simple sentences. Repeat yourself if you have to and look at them when talking. When you are talking to them and looking away from them, they may feel as if they irritate you. Sometimes, they might have an interpreter to make communication easier. In this case, talk to the interpreter with your mouth but speak to them using kind words. In simple words, feel free to communicate with them. They have emotions too. And they want to know they have your full attention, so give it to them. Do away with the pitying tone; it doesn’t help them. They do not want you to pity them. Rather, all they need is genuine care.

Ask Before Helping: If you are the type who loves to be helpful, never forget to ask a person with a disability if they need help before you provide any assistance. Do not be too officious like you are the savior of the world. In fact, what seems to you as a struggle for them is their way of carrying out the task. You might offer to help, and they may decline. Do not take offense at their action. They know their strength more than you. And they know when they need any assistance.

Be A Volunteer: There are different organizations supporting people with physical and cognitive disabilities. You may volunteer your service in any of those places. The voluntary role can be in the area of your specialization. For example, if you are a doctor, you can volunteer your services as medical personnel. Still wondering where you will fit in? Get a list of centers for people living with disabilities in your community. Go there and ask about how you might help them.


The truth is that people with impairment need your support in several ways. You can be the eyes of someone who cannot see; you can be the ears of someone who cannot hear. Your generous donation can save the life of the disabled who cannot make ends meet. Be a volunteer and put a smile on someone’s face today.

Photo Credit: Hamsphireadvocacy