Your call to action
So, if you're a shop-keeper, bus driver, neighbour, letter carrier, bank teller or community member, here's what we're asking you to do. Start by saying "HI" to a person that you see regularly who has a developmental disability. Who knows, a smile and a greeting might lead to a conversation and you may even find something in common. By reaching out and starting a sense of belonging with HI, you’re making your community safer for all.
All of us feel vulnerable at some time during our daily lives. For example, you might just get lost in an unfamiliar neighbourhood and need to ask directions. Or you might feel uneasy about a situation. Our instinct is to look around for someone to help. Preferably someone you know informally like a shop-keeper, neighbour or a bus driver. But some people with developmental disabilities can have a harder time making these kinds of informal connections for a variety of reasons.
Putting the “safe” in safeguards
Community Living BC believes adults with developmental disabilities and their families have the right to pursue good lives in welcoming communities. Part of a good life for people is feeling safe from harm where they live, go to school, work and play. This includes physical harm, emotional harm, or financial harm.
One important way to make sure that people are safe from harm is through “safeguards.” Safeguards are actions that are done on purpose to help reduce the risk that someone will be harmed. Informal safeguards in communities can help ensure that people with developmental disabilities are at no greater risk than the rest of us in our daily lives. (Click here for more information about safeguards).
Advice from people with developmental disabilities
When we talked to people with developmental disabilities about how they could feel safer in their day-to-day lives, they had some great advice. They said, “if people would just say “HI” to us, maybe we would feel better included and like we had more people to ask for help if we needed it.”