Over the past few years I have noticed that I have a pity trigger that I am quite ashamed of. I’m not sure how I got it or what it stems from psychologically, but I really want to be able to move away from it.

When ever I see a person with disabilities or special needs, especially of the mental/developmental variety, I automatically have a pity response feeling.  My physical reaction is to smile at them and make them feel noticed/welcome(?), but I have come to realize I would not do that normally for anyone else.  This leads me to believe I have some sort of pity bias when it comes to persons with disabilities.

Is this something I can fix?  All I want to do is to acknowledge/treat them as normal people (which I try to do), but I cannot seem to fix my immediate emotional response when I see them. My first guess for a path to changing this would be to just spend even more time with persons with disabilities so I can, for lack of a better term, ‘normalize’ how I view them. Is that the way to go?

Any guidance or help would be greatly appreciated.  I want to remove this mental stigma I have and start viewing persons with disabilities how they deserve to be.

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