There may be times when you decide to disclose in social or community settings. The following list includes some possibilities:
• Going with your friends to a concert
• Planning a date with someone
• Meeting your mentor for lunch
• Meeting new people, or starting new relationships
• Joining community clubs or activities
WHAT information to disclose in social settings
Remember that what you disclose about yourself is a deeply personal issue and you don’t have to share everything with everyone. You should think about what you want people to know and to think about you. It will be helpful if you describe your disability and related needs in honest and positive terms. You want people to feel good about interacting with you, not from a point of pity or helplessness but one of being included.
Preparation is essential when planning to disclose your disability. Think about the scripts you prepared in Unit 6 and Unit 7. Is your information presented in a clear and concise way, a way that is relevant to your social and community life? If it is, TERRIFIC! If not, make some changes and then practice the disclosure script. Don’t forget that it is not necessary to disclose every detail of your medical or personal information even to your friends, but be open and honest in your discussion. Some people may feel uncomfortable with talking about your disability, which may hurt or make you angry, but your positive presentation can help put them at ease. Be prepared, but be flexible in how you talk about your disability in different settings.
You may wish to present the following information about your disability to friends, acquaintances, or community members:
• General information about your disability
• Why you’ve chosen to disclose your disability to them, including its impact on your social life and community involvement
• The type of accommodations that have worked for you in the past, or that you may need in the future
• Positive examples of how you can become more involved in your community, and what community involvement means to you
To WHOM to disclose in social settings