Disability News – Learn to Engage

This graphic says When you meet a person with a disability, who's really disabled by the encounter? Read simple tips on how to engage.

Rules of Special Engagement

Whether you’re hiring someone with a physical or mental disability or you’re just working alongside an individual with a disability, it’s good to know some basic etiquette rules.

Suzanne Robitaille, founder of the news and media platform abledbody.com, shared some of her expertise with NJBIZ:

1 Say, "Hello"
“Treat the person as any other individual, not someone who needs pity or special treatment. If you can, orient yourself to their specific needs.”

2 Refer to the person first
“In conversation, say, ‘the person who is deaf’ instead of saying, ‘the deaf person.’”

3 Use everyday expressions
“It’s completely acceptable to say things like ‘It was good to see you’ and ‘See you soon’ to a person who is blind.”

4 Ask first
“Don’t touch a wheelchair user’s chair or grab a visually impaired person’s arm without asking if they want assistance first. Let a person who is visually impaired take your arm, not the other way around.”

5 Give cues
“Wave your hands to get the attention of a person who is deaf. You also can facilitate a conversation with a person who is blind by giving verbal cues and asking questions.”

6 Be considerate
“Sit down so you can meet a person who uses a wheelchair at eye level. Give someone with a speech impairment extra time to finish a sentence — don’t do it for them.”

7 Don’t be shy
“Offer your handshake to a person with a limb impairment; he or she may shake your hand differently. Or ask to take notes at a meeting for a person who is deaf.”

8 Think logistically
“Mobility-impaired people are prone to slips and falls, so keep floors clear when possible. Make a note of accessible routes.”

9 Get the facts first
“Someone who at first may seem drunk or disorderly may in fact have a disability that causes involuntary body movements and slurred speech, such as cerebral palsy.”

10 Encourage participation
“Like anyone else, a person with a disability is more likely to succeed at work if he or she is socially involved. Most likely, he or she can tell you what accommodations will be necessary to make the situation work.”

Thank for this article on njbiz.com

    Brett Johnson

Brett Johnson covers a wide array of sectors as a general assignment reporter. Before joining NJBIZ in 2014, he lived on the West Coast and wrote for a newspaper in Davis, Calif. You can contact him at brettj@njbiz.com or @ReporterBrett on Twitter.