Tips To Communicate With People With Disabiliites
The Americans with Disabilities Act, along with other laws and legislation, have broken through many barriers in improving access to education, public buildings and employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. These legislative acts have also helped to change the way they are portrayed on television and in motion pictures.
However, there is still some progress that needs to be made when it comes to how communication and interaction is handled with people who have disabilities. There are some individuals who fear they will say something wrong, so they do not say anything at all.
Unfortunately, these types of actions only help to further segregate those with disabilities.
You can use the following suggestions and tips to relate to and about people with disabilities.
Positive language has the ability to empower people. When you are speaking to or about someone who is disabled, it is important that you refer to that person first. Making general group designations such as “the disabled” or “the blind” is considered to be inappropriate because these terms do not recognize the individuality or dignity of those who are disabled.
On the other hand, a term such as “normal person” implies that those who are disabled are not normal. A phrase like “person with disability” is a more acceptable term because although it is descriptive, it is not considered negative.
The following list includes affirmative and negative phrases:
• Affirmative – person with cognitive disability. Negative – mentally defective, retarded
• Affirmative – person with a disability. Negative –the disabled
• Affirmative – person who is deaf. Negative – deaf and dumb, the deaf
• Affirmative – person who with a seizure disorder. Negative – epileptic
The best etiquette you can have when interacting with a person with a disability is to have etiquette that is based on courtesy and respect. There are some tips you can use if you want to interact more effective with those with disabilities.
One of the first things to remember is that when you are introduced to someone with a disability, it is appropriate to make the offer to shake their hand. It is also acceptable to shake with the left hand.
Always treat an adult as an adult. Also make sure you address a person with a disability by their first name.
Finally, you should relax. Do not be afraid to use certain commonly used expressions such as “talk with you soon” or “see you later”.
When communicating with someone who is blind, always speak clearly and in a normal tone. You should also let the person know when you are leaving or walking away.
If you are offering the person a chair to sit down in, place the individual’s hand on the back of the chair so they will know where the seat is located.
These are just some of the suggestions and tips that you can consider when interacting with a person with a disability. The main tips are to remain relaxed, treat the person with respect and listen. Offer assistance but do not feel offended if the assistance is not accepted.