Recently I have received several letters from people living with brain injury wanting to know how to handle people who say hurtful things, or who say things that are supposed to be motivating but are instead are a reminder of loss. “If you put your mind to it you can do anything”.
Timely, when this week when I came across an article entitled “9 things not to say to a wheelchair user” it reminded me of other articles I have read about what to say, and what not to say when a person has a brain injury. We all know words can build us up, or break us down, and most often the speaker does not mean them to be harmful.
So today as a reminder to all of us. Articles that give clues on what not to say when a person has a brain injury or other life changes. Next week in Part 2 some suggestions on what you might say.
‘NOT To Say’ When a Person Has A Brain Injury
Firstly – the article mentioned above. Well-meaning but often unhelpful things people can say when you use a wheelchair such as ““Well done for getting out and about”
And here are 9 things people should not say to a person with brain injury including statements like ““You did it yesterday why can’t you do it today, you are just not trying.”
A confronting reminder of what ‘ableism’ can mean and the subtle forms it can take from Radical Accessible Mapping Project. Examples such as “being talked about as though i don’t exist while i’m sitting right there”
Then there is the whole wide area of ‘inspiration porn’ a term attributed to the late Stella Young. Statements, videos, posters with sayings like “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
And you should not miss Stella Young describing inspiration porn in her own inimitable way:
The next article “To Say or Not To Say – After Brain Injury Part 2” will look at how communication might be more helpful, an strengths based.
What experiences have you had around what is said that is not helpful?
Support the Work of Changed Lives New Journeys