Disability Etiquette

[ms_accordion_item title=”Disability Etiquette” icon= class=”fas fa-wheelchair” status=”close”]

Interacting with People with Disabilities

[ms_list_item]Many of us grew up in a time when we were taught to look away when we saw a person with a disability. Those days are over and, with the advent of the Disabilities Act, our society is learning to welcome people with disabilities into mainstream as productive individuals. This pamphlet can help you be a part of that process. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item ]If you are interested in interacting with people with disabilities for the first time.[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Be yourself

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]As in any new situation, everyone will feel more comfortable if you relax [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Meeting someone

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]People who use wheelchairs may have a variety of disabilities. Some have use of their arms and some do not. When you meet someone, extend your hand to shake if that is what you normally do. A person who cannot shake hands will let you know. He or she will appreciate being treated in a normal way. If you are meeting a Visually impaired person, identify yourself. If you have met before, remind him of the context; he won’t have the visual clues to jog his memory. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Helping

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Do not automatically give assistance; ask first if the person wants help. Follow the person’s cues, and ask if you are not sure.
Be the assistant, not the director; let a Visually impaired person hold your arm and follow you. And don’t be offended if someone refuses your offer of assistance. It’s his or her choice to be as independent as they can be. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Communication

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Talk directly to the person, not to an aide, friend, or interpreter. If the person has a speech impairment, listen carefully and patiently. Ask him to repeat if you don’t understand. If the person doesn’t understand you when you speak, try again. Don’t let
Him think your communication with him is not worthwhile to you. If the person is deaf or hard of hearing, follow his or her lead; use gestures or write. If the person uses a wheelchair, sit and converse at his level.

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Socializing

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Do not leave a person with a disability out of a conversation or activity because you feel uncomfortable or fear that he/she will feel uncomfortable. Include him or her as you would anyone else. He or she knows what they can do and want to do; let it be
their decision whether or not to participate. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Disability

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Treat the person as an individual. Don’t assume that the person’s disability is all he can talk about or is interested in. Find a topic of small talk, the way you would with anyone. Don’t treat the person as a disability. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Environments

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Be sensitive about the setting. A noisy or dark environment, or people talking simultaneously, might make it difficult for people with a vision, speech, or hearing disability to participate in a conversation. Be aware of clear paths of travel for people who use wheelchairs or are Visually impaired. Describe going-on and surroundings (especially obstacles) to Visually impaired person.[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Touching

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Do not pet guide dogs, and do not touch a person with a disability unless there is a good reason (such as shaking hands in greeting or if the person has requested assistance). However, you may gently touch a deaf person’s Arm to get his attention. Never Push a person’s wheelchair without his or her permission. Please do not recoil if you meet a person with AIDS; shake his hand as you would anyone? You can’t get AIDS by touching. And your acceptance means a lot. [/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Hidden disabilities

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Not all disabilities are apparent. A person may have trouble following a conversation, may not respond when you call or wave, may make a request that seems strange to you, or may say or do something that seems inappropriate. The person may have a
hidden disability, such as low vision, a hearing or learning disability, traumatic brain injury, mental retardation, or mental illness.
Don’t make assumptions about the person or his or her disability. Be open-minded.
[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

Learning More

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]Lack of knowledge or misinformation may lead you to shy away from interacting with persons with certain disabilities.
Preconceptions about mental illness, AIDS, cerebral palsy, Tourettes Syndrome and other disabilities often lead to a lack of acceptance by those around the person. Remember that we are all complex human beings; a disability is just one aspect of a
Person. Learning more about the disability may alleviate your fears and pave the way for you to see the person for whom he or she is.
[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

I hope this small pamphlet helped in some small way

[/ms_list_item]

[ms_list_item]

D R O’Donnell 29/09/1998 ©

[/ms_list_item]
[/ms_accordion_item]

Scroll to Top