Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Communication Tips

For talking to people with disabilities

  1. Speak directly to a person with a disability, not through his or her companion. This applies whether the person has a physical disability, mental disability or is blind or deaf and uses an interpreter.

  1. Always offer to shake hands. Extend common courtesies to people with disabilities, as you would to anyone else. Shake hands and/or give them your business card. If the person cannot shake your hand or grasp your card, they will tell you. However, do make the attempt, it shows respect.

  1. Always identify yourself and others with you when speaking to someone who is blind. Make sure to say good bye or let them know you are leaving when speaking to someone who is blind.

  1. If you offer assistance to a person with a disability, wait until your offer is accepted before you help and let them instruct you on how to help them.

  1. Treat adults as adults. Do not patronize or treat people with disabilities as children. Presume Competence!

  1. Do not lean against or hang on a person's wheelchair. My wheelchair is not a wall or coffee table to be used as a footrest or perch!

  1. Listen attentively and let the person with the disability finish before you speak. If the person has a speech impairment and you are having trouble understanding what he or she is saying, ask the person to repeat rather than pretend you understand.

  1. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone using a, wheelchair. Grab a chair or kneel, it really makes communication easier!

  1. Tap a person who is deaf on the shoulder or wave your hand to get their attention, do not put your hand in front of your mouth when speaking.

  1. Relax; don't be embarrassed if you use common language that could relate to disability. I don't roll to work, I walk and my friend who is blind doesn't feel a document but will read it!

Respect NOT Political Correctness; the Platinum Rule says Treat others the way They want to be treated.

From The Ten Commandments Video. Produced by Irene M. Ward & Associates