Kindness Week 2024

10 easy and inclusive ways to spread kindness

10 easy and inclusive ways to show kindness

With Valentine’s Day just passed and Random Acts of Kindness Day fast approaching on February 17, there’s no better time to remind ourselves that everyone – with or without a disability – deserves kindness in their lives.

Here are a few easy and inclusive ways you can spread kindness this week:

Practice People First Language
Expressing kindness can be as simple as choosing the right words. Practicing People First Language is a way to communicate that reflects respect for people with disabilities. It defines them as a person rather than by the perceived limitations of a disability. Learn more about People First Language.

Plan inclusively
All people – including people with disabilities – want to be included. Simply extending an invitation, including everyone in a conversation, or making plans that are accessible to people of all abilities will make everyone feel appreciated.

Try a kind gesture
Saying hello, smiling or offering a compliment are great ways to show kindness to all people. It’s no different when it comes to the disability community. Offer up simple, kind gestures indiscriminately as a reminder to ourselves and those around us that we’re all human and we all deserve kindness.

Be mindful of assistive devices
Assistive devices should be thought of as an extension of a person’s body. You wouldn’t touch, move or push a person’s body, so you shouldn’t touch, move or push an assistive device. This means, no pushing wheelchairs without asking. Don’t touch a cane, walker or oxygen tank. And don’t move a scooter, communication device or any other aid or assistive tool.

Ask before assisting
The assumption of need can be seen as unkind to some. Make sure you ask if you can help before rushing to assist in any situation. And don’t be offended if the answer is no. People with disabilities are extremely independent and, like everyone, find it beneficial to do things themselves.  

Don’t be intrusive
It goes without saying that people with disabilities should be treated with the same respect and dignity as people without disabilities. This means skipping inappropriate comments or questions about their bodies and lives.   

Sometimes friends or family members with disabilities just want to vent. It doesn’t mean they need you to resolve every barrier they’re facing. Lending a supportive and compassionate ear is a good way to show kindness. Listen without judgement, hear without interrupting, and validate without imposing your opinions or solutions.

Make a donation
Donating to a disability-related cause can be a great way to support the disability community. This doesn’t mean you have to open your wallet. You can also donate your time and skills by volunteering with local or national groups. Do a little research and put your time (or money) to good work.

Be an advocate
There are many ways to advocate with people with disabilities. Learn more about causes and issues that affect the disability community. Speak up when you hear inappropriate words or comments. Respect rights in the decision-making process. Promote inclusive and accessible spaces at work, in schools and within the larger community.  Support autonomy and celebrate self-advocacy.

Be patient
One of the greatest ways to show kindness is through patience. Not only to those around you but to yourself. Understand that we’re all human and we’re all learning. Like most things in life, we don’t always get it right on the first try. Remember, practice makes perfect. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and forgive yourself and those around you with grace.