A Credo of Support

Must watch video for anyone who knows anyone with a disability:

Read by People with Disabilities

Read by a Narrator

Full Text

Throughout history, people with physical and mental disabilities have been abandoned at birth, banished from society, used as court jesters, drowned and burned during The Inquisition, gassed in Nazi Germany, and still continue to be segregated, institutionalized, tortured in the name of behavior management, abused, raped, euthanized, and murdered.

Now, for the first time, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place as fully contributing citizens.

The danger is that we will respond with remediation and benevolence rather than equity and respect. And so, we offer you:

A Credo for Support

Do not see my disability as the problem.
Recognize that my disability is an attribute.

Do not see my disability as a deficit.
It is you who see me as deviant and helpless.

Do not try to fix me because I am not broken.
Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my own way.

Do not see me as your client.
I am your fellow citizen.
See me as your neighbour.
Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.

Do not try to modify my behavior.
Be still & listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt tocommunicate with you in the only way I can.

Do not try to change me, you have no right.
Help me learn what I want to know.

Do not hide your uncertainty behind “professional” distance.
Be a person who listens and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better. Do not use theories and strategies on me.
Be with me.
And when we struggle with each other, let that give use to self-reflection.

Do not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person.
What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do not teach me to be obedient, submissive and polite.
I need to feel entitled to say No if I am to protect myself.

Do not be charitable towards me.
The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis.

Do not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that.
Get to know me, we may become friends.

Do not help me, even if it does make you feel good.

Ask me if I need your help.
Let me show you how you can assist me.

Do not admire me.
A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration.
Respect me, for respect presumes equality.

Do not tell, correct, and lead.
Listen, support, and follow.

Do not work on me.
Work with me!


In Memory of Tracy Latimore
Written by Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift
Copyright 1995 Norman Kunc & Emma Van der Klift


Copies available through NormEmma.com

  1. Marajakhi says:

    Hi,I have Thoracic Outlet syndome going on 17 years now. I tryed going back to work after they reeomvd my left upper rib to releave the pain . But even after the surgeryI had to quit my job becuse of the pain in my shoulder and neck. .I was told by my Doctors that Competition didn’t not recognize TOS as work related injuryso did not apply for competition. Now they accept TOS as work related and it is to late to apply now. My question is why doesn’t the goverment go after the Competition Broad and make them pay for work injuries.It would save the tax payers alot of money. We pay millions of dollars into competition where does that money go if not to the people who payed into it. I have been on BC ministry of scoial develpment disability for going on 11 years now . What makes me mad is that anyone on ministry disability is consider as welfare bum. We are not on welfare we are disbility and can not work.At present I get 906.42 a month to live on. After paying my rent there is little left for food. Because I am single and have no children I am not eligiable for rent subsidy( what gives with that). Not my flaut I couldn’t have kids. I am now at the age that I can apply for seniors low income housing but there is a waitting list a hundred miles long. Why does the goverment treat us in this way.