Attitudes make the difference.
I sat with a client the other day, a lady who I have worked with for many years now and listened to yet another recent experience of her’s where she was faced with experiencing a negative attitude towards her and her disability. Sometimes I am lost for words when it comes to the subject of attitudes and how some people choose to behave towards others and in this instance I am speaking about professional people.
Attitudes though can be changed.
Attitudes are transient because they are made up of beliefs, values, feelings and emotions. Our attitudes towards things or people can be affected by experiences so we always have the potential to evolve.
We have certain influences such as education and experiences that may shape our attitudes and we can choose to the more people coming together to push for change and the more people who stand in support of each other then the more change will happen. Change though is tough, especially when it’s on a global scale and is through evolution not revolution.
Whilst attitudes are slowly changing, challenges still need to be surmounted and our push for accessibility around services, tourism, transport, leisure, pathways and local community shared areas is as important now as it was 20 – 50 years ago.
Attitudes are as non verbal as verbal.
I remember at school I was singled out by a group of girls for a while and it made me feel pretty miserable. This was at school and thankfully isolated there, yet I watch my son who tries his absolute hardest to win in his life; face such behaviour in many places. People who stare at him because of his spinal deformity. The shocked look that then turns into the even less subtle giggle or pointing or the sympathy look.
I watch how some people really struggle to talk to him because he has a speech impediment yet he can talk the hind legs of a donkey that one and get him on Man City subjects or either of his two volunteer job placements and he’ll bend your ear for hours. He’s sociable that’s all.
Recently I was trying to understand a receptionist over the noise around us, I am partially deaf and it just so happens that on that day I didn’t have my hearing aid in because it was being serviced. I explained this to her and asked her a couple of times to repeat certain words, when I was met with an eye roll I never asked her to repeat herself again. I switched off from hearing her words as all I could hear and feel was my own internal dialogue which was frustration.
Attitudes are everywhere. In marketing, in education, in behaviour, in tones of voice and in the words themselves. We have a lot of work to do and we are doing it with an ever growing supportive network. Please pick up the baton wherever you are and continue to be the voices of educating people you meet along the way.