Disability Etiquette

This article, entitled "Disability Etiquette," comes from Cathy at bountifulplate.

When you see someone that has a hearing, physical, cognitive, speech or vision impairment are you unsure of what to say or do? Do you want to make sure you don’t come across as offensive or insensitive? Here are some great disability etiquette guidelines:

  • Don’t automatically assume a person with a disability needs your assistance. They know best what they are capable of. Be respectful and always ask first!
  • If someone is in a wheelchair, speak directly to them. If the conversation is for more than a few minutes, kneel down or pull up a chair and get down on their eye level. Please don’t sit on the arm of the wheelchair or lean on it.
  • Don’t assume that someone with a hearing impairment can read lips. Whether they can read lips or not (or have an interpreter), still speak clearly and directly to them.
  • Not all disabilities are readily “visible.” Just because you can’t “see” the disability, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
  • It’s always a good idea to ask first before you pet, pat or feed a service animal. They could be in “training.”
  • If someone is having a difficult time with their speech and don’t try and finish the sentence for them. Be patient and give them time to speak.
  • Always include the person with a disability in the conversation or activity.
  • If you have a question about someone’s disability, please remember to be discreet and sensitive. Respect their privacy if they would prefer not to talk about it.
  • Some words to describe a person with a disability are now outdated or have a negative connotation. Please think before you speak – if you think a word or phrase is offensive, it probably is!

Many times the biggest obstacles a person with a disability faces are other people. Respect and courtesy are very important. A person with a disability is not “defined” by their disability - it is only part of who they are!!

To read more from Cathy, visit bountifulplate.blogspot.com

About the Author...
Cathy B
Cathy is a homemaker, wife and mother to a son with special needs, an adult daughter and stepmom to an adult son.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus