Interacting with the disabled
Public services and buildings are required to have in place facilities and policies to accommodate people with disabilities as required by the American’s with Disabilities Act. These regulations make it increasingly likely that people without specific disabilities will interact more frequently with the disabled. We often get questions about interacting with the disabled. Here are a few simple rules to help smooth the way for an easy and pleasing interaction:
When interacting with a person using a wheelchair:
- Maintain eye contact.
- Ask if assistance is needed, rather than assuming it is.
- Don’t lean on a wheelchair. The chair is considered part of the body space of the person who uses it.
- Plan events with wheelchair accessibility in mind.
When interacting with a person who had a visual impairment:
- Always identify yourself when meeting a person with a severe loss of vision. Introduce others present.
- When offering a seat to a person with a visual impairment, place the person’s hand on the back or arm of the seat.
- Do not avoid using common expressions such as “see” or “look” when around a person with a visual impairment.
- Do not give food or water to a Seeing Eye dog.
When interacting with a person with hearing loss:
- Talk directly to that person, even if he or she is using an interpreter.
- Use your normal voice.
Along with these rules, using common sense and maintaining a positive attitude should ensure a pleasant interaction. If you would like more information please don’t hesitate to call us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today and thanks for your interest in helping the disabled.