Disability Etiquette


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This is a PowerPoint Presentation I created in 2008 to help people better understand proper etiquette when dealing with people with disabilities. I have givne this training to colleagues within the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as people in other organizations. This training is given from personal experience as I have been visually impaired since birth.

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Disability Etiquette

  1. 1. Disability Etiquette Beth Gray
  2. 2. What is a Disability?A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a persons major life activities, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.
  3. 3. Difference Between a Disability and a Handicap• A Disability is a condition caused by an accident, trauma, genetics or disease which may limit a persons mobility, hearing, vision, speech or mental function. Some people with disabilities have one or more disabilities.• A Handicap is a physical or attitudinal constraint that is imposed upon a person, regardless of whether that person has a disability. Websters Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines handicap as to put at a disadvantage.
  4. 4. Types of Disabilities• mobility impairments• blindness and vision impairments• deafness and hearing impairments• speech and language impairments• Mental and learning disabilities.
  5. 5. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)• Signed by President George Bush on July 26, 1990PURPOSE• Provide clear and comprehensive national mandate to end discrimination against individuals with disabilities.• Provide enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities.• Ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing these standards on behalf of individuals with disabilities.
  6. 6. The ADA guarantees civil rights protection and equal opportunity in• Employment• Public accommodations• Transportation• State and local government services• Telecommunications.
  7. 7. PEOPLE FIRST!!! The Language When talking to or aboutpeople with disabilities, use PEOPLE-FIRST LANGUAGE!!
  8. 8. Examples of PEOPLE FIRST Language • A PERSON WHO IS/PEOPLE WHO ARE-• Blind/visually impaired because we’re• Deaf/hearing impaired people, to o!!• Mentally impaired• In a wheelchair• disabled
  9. 9. REMEMBER that when talking to orabout people with disabilities, there are certain phrases and terms that are acceptable to use, and those that are not!!
  10. 10. Acceptable Unacceptable• Person with a Disability • Cripple, Crippled • Handicapped, Handicap ped person • Victim • Patient (unless in a hospital)• Person who is Deaf • Deaf and dumb• Person who has a • Retard/Retarded, moron mental or , imbecile, idiot developmental disability
  11. 11. Acceptable Unacceptable• Person who uses a • Confined/restricted wheelchair to a wheelchair, wheelch• People who are not air-bound disabled • Healthy people• A person who has • Normal (name of disability) • Afflicted• Born with, caused with/suffers from by • Birth defect, deformed/def ormed by
  12. 12. Things to Remember!If you dont make a habit of leaning or hanging onpeople, dont lean or hang on someones wheelchair.Wheelchairs are an extension of personal space.When you offer to assist someone with a visionimpairment, allow the person to take your arm. Thiswill help you to guide, rather than propel or lead, theperson.Treat adults as adults. Call a person by his or herfirst name only when you extend this familiarity toeveryone present. Dont patronize people who usewheelchairs by patting them on the head. Reservethis sign of affection for children.
  13. 13. Things to Remember!When talking with someone who has adisability, speak directly to him or her,rather than through a companion whomay be along.Relax. Dont be embarrassed if youhappen to use common expressions,such as "See you later" or "Ive got torun", that seem to relate to the personsdisability.
  14. 14. Things to Remember!To get the attention of a person who has a hearingdisability, tap the person on the shoulder or waveyour hand. Look directly at the person and speakclearly, slowly and expressively to establish if theperson can read your lips. Not everyone with hearingimpairments can lip-read. Those who do will rely onfacial expressions and other body language to helpunderstand. Show consideration by facing a lightsource and keeping your hands and food away fromyour mouth when speaking. Keep mustaches well-trimmed. Shouting wont help, but written notes will.
  15. 15. Things to Remember!• When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, place yourself at the wheelchair users eye level to spare both of you a stiff neck.• When greeting a person with a severe loss of vision, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. Say, for example, "On my right is Beth Gray". When conversing in a group, remember to say the name of the person to whom you are speaking to give vocal cue. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate when you move from one place to another, and let it be known when the conversation is at an end.
  16. 16. Things to Remember!Give whole, unhurried attention when youretalking to a person who has difficultyspeaking. Keep your manner encouragingrather than correcting, and be patient ratherthan speak for the person. When necessary,ask questions that require short answers or anod or shake of the head. Never pretend tounderstand if you are having difficulty doingso. Repeat what you understand. Thepersons reaction will guide you tounderstanding.
  17. 17. Common Courtesy• If you would like to help someone with a disability, ask if he or she needs it before you act, and listen to any instructions the person may want to give.• When giving directions to a person in a wheelchair, consider distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles such as stairs, curbs and steep hills.• When directing a person with a visual impairment, use specifics such as "left a hundred feet" or "right two yards".
  18. 18. Common Courtesy• Be considerate of the extra time it might take a person with a disability to get things done or said. Let the person set the pace in walking and talking.• When planning events involving persons with disabilities, consider their needs ahead of time. If an insurmountable barrier exists, let them know about it prior to the event.
  19. 19. ON THE JOBThere are many important things to know wheninterviewing/hiring people with disabilities.
  20. 20. Hiring Do’s and Don’ts• DO learn where to find and recruit people with disabilities.• Dont assume that persons with disabilities do not want to, or can’t work. GO! Stop!
  21. 21. Hiring Do’s and Don’tsDo learn how to communicate with peoplewho have disabilities.Dont ask if a person has a disabilityduring an employment interview.Dont assume that certain jobs are moresuited to persons with disabilities. GO! Stop!
  22. 22. Hiring Do’s and Don’tsDo ensure that your applications and other companyforms do not ask disability-related questions andthat they are in formats that are accessible to allpersons with disabilities.Dont hire a person with a disability if that person isat significant risk of substantial harm to the healthand safety of the public and there is no reasonableaccommodation to reduce the risk or harm.Dont hire a person with a disability who is notqualified to perform the essential functions of the jobeven with a reasonable accommodation.
  23. 23. Hiring Do’s and Don’tsDo relax and make the applicant feelcomfortable.Dont assume that the work environmentwill be unsafe if an employee has adisability.Do provide reasonable accommodationsthat the qualified applicant will need tocompete for the job.Dont assume that reasonableaccommodations are expensive.
  24. 24. Hiring Do’s and Don’tsDo understand that access includes notonly environmental access but alsomaking forms accessible to people withvisual or cognitive disabilities andmaking alarms and signals accessibleto people with hearing disabilities.Do train supervisors on makingreasonable accommodations.
  25. 25. Reception Etiquette• Know where accessible restrooms, drinking fountains, and telephones are.• Speak in a normal tone of voice• If an interpreter is present, speak to the PERSON, NOT THE INTERPRETER.• Offer assistance with dignity and respect. If they decline, do not persist.
  26. 26. Common Technology and Aids for People with Disabilities• Magnifiers• Monoculars• Hearing Aids• Walkers• Reachers• Prosthetic Legs and/or Arms• TTY Modems
  27. 27. Other Disability Aids• Alternative Keyboards• Speech recognition devices• Light-signal devices• Audio signal devices• Breathing machines• Communication devices• Service Animals
  28. 28. Helpful Websites• http://www.crinet.org/education/Independent %20Living/Etiquette – Helpful etiquette tips• http://www.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pa gename=ntl_etiquette – Another good etiquette site www.abledata.com – Click on Products. Great website to find products and supplies for people with disabilities.
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