Relax and enjoy getting to know your colleagues or guests as people and as professionals.
Ask before you provide assistance.
Do not assume that a person with an apparent disability needs assistance; offering assistance in broad terms such as “Let me know if you need anything” opens the door without assumptions of inability.
Think in terms of ‘Disability Pride’ language using powerful words such as: wheelchair user as opposed to confined to a wheelchair or wheelchair person; person who is deaf or blind rather than deaf or blind people.
Individuals with Mobility Disabilities
Do not touch a person’s mobility equipment.
Be considerate of possible pain, balance, or post-traumatic stress concerns during physical contact.
When engaging in a conversation, select a location where you can engage comfortably and that reduces distance between you.
Individuals who are Blind or have Low Vision
Identify yourself when entering a conversation and announce when you leave.
When serving as a sighted guide, offer your arm or shoulder rather than grabbing or pushing the individual.
Describe the setting, environment, written material, and obstacles when serving as a human guide.
Resist the temptation to pet or talk to a guide or service animal.
Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
Gain the person’s attention before starting a conversation.
If the individual uses a sign language interpreter, speak directly to the person, not the interpreter; keep your eyes on the individual and not on the interpreter.
Face the person and speak in normal tones.
Individuals who have Speech Disabilities
If you do not understand what the person is saying, ask the person to repeat what they said and then repeat it back to ensure you understood.
Do not speak for the person or attempt to finish their sentences.
Individuals who have Non-Apparent Disabilities
Seek to understand their lived experience.
Recognize that disclosing their disability comes with a risk and honor requested confidentiality.
Engage in a dialogue to determine individual needs.
Alex Clem2023-03-24T14:01:10-04:00July 20th, 2022|