Please Speak to Me (Not my Non-Disabled Companion)

As those of you who follow/read this blog will know, the primary purpose of my site is to share my poetry. I do, however sometimes blog about more personal matters and today is one of those rare occasions on which I shall do so.


Yesterday (Saturday 24 September) I went for my 4th Covid jab (booster). Being blind, and the vaccination centre being some distance away, a friend kindly took me in her car.


The centre was offering both the Covid booster and a flue jab for those entitled to receive one.


When it came to my turn to be vaccinated, the person giving the vaccinations asked my sighted friend  why I was entitled to receive the flu jab. I answered that I am diabetic (people with diabetes are entitled to free flu jabs in the UK), and the vaccination against Covid and Flu was given.


The above incident reminded me of another case where a member of station staff asked a sighted work colleague with whom I was traveling “does he need any help?”.


In both cases the people putting the question to my companions where assuming that I was unable to speak for myself. This is a highly patronising and erroneous assumption as I and the vast majority of other disabled people are perfectly able to answer for ourselves.


Both incidents are ironic as had I been unaccompanied the individuals putting the questions would have had no alternative other than to address me directly, which is, of course as it should be.


Having visited both China and Sri Lanka, I am aware that those nations (and many other countries) do not have the facilities for people with disabilities which are available in the United Kingdom. However, this fact in no way excuses the patronising attitudes adopted by a minority of individuals. This is particularly the case in the NHS where all staff should be provided with disability awareness training.


The vast majority of those employed in the NHS do an excellent job (often under extremely difficult circumstances). However, the minority who adopt patronising attitudes needs to be addressed.


Disabled people are human beings and deserve to be treated with the same respect as are non-disabled fellow citizens.



21 thoughts on “Please Speak to Me (Not my Non-Disabled Companion)

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      I think you are right that some people “feel insecure with the situation”. This is why those working in the health service must have disability awareness training, to give them the confidence to behave correctly.
      I agree with you. Let us hope that the pandemic is soon over.
      Best wishes. Kevin

    2. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thanks, Michael. Germany is an advanced society so I suspect disability awareness training is provided by some organisations, but I don’t know either. Best wishes. Kevin

  1. robertawrites235681907

    HI Kevin, this would upset me too in the same circumstances. I only know two visually impaired people locally. One used to work at my firm and managed very well and the other is a children’s book author. She is a perfectly self sufficient and lovely lady. South Africa is not an easy place for people with any sort of disability to live, given the lack of support from government, limited public transport and high crime rate which makes our streets unsafe.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Many thanks for commenting, Robbie.
      I am sorry to hear about the difficulties experienced by visually impaired people in South Africa. I once met a guide dog trainer (who now works for the UK Guide Dogs but used to work for South African Guide Dogs). She told me about the problem with stray dogs in South Africa and how this can make it difficult for guide dog handlers to cope as the stray dogs can interfere with the working guide dogs.
      Best wishes. Kevin

  2. V.M.Sang

    I agree, Kevin. That is shocking. Why do people who should know better do this? You would think that the people in the NHS are intelligent (at least I hope so), so they should know that blindness doesn’t impair the ability to communicate.

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Vivienne. I find the overwhelming majority of those in the NHS are clued up on disability awareness. There is, however a problem with a minority of individuals.

      Best wishes. Kevin

    1. K Morris Poet Post author

      Sadly, I’m not surprised that this kind of thing happens to you “all to often”, Tori. I recently had an incident (not covered in this post as it occurred only a few days ago) in a leading supermarket where a young woman (late teens or early twenties who was employed by the store), spoke to the sighted person taking me round the supermarket rather than addressing herself to me. This was ironic as the person taking me around was also an employee of the same chain (I was at Customer Services paying for items at the time of the incident). Incidentally the lady taking me round treated me as a fully functional human being, it was her colleague who had the issue. One would hope that younger people exhibit less ignorance than older people. Sadly this is not always the case. Kevin

      1. Victoria Zigler

        Age doesn’t seem to be a factor. Some people just don’t see disabled people as capable of doing normal things like thinking and talking for themselves. It completely confuses them when we do things like arrive at places without sighted assistance, or even just answer questions all by ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.