How to Talk to People with Disabilities

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,423
    Becky Canale, National Client Services Coordinator of Paws With A Cause discusses how to talk to people with disabilities.

    Ken Kirsch: Hi! I am ken Kirsch, Training Manager with Paws With A Cause. Today I'm discussing, how to speak to people with disability.

    When you see someone with a disability, keep in mind that they are just like you and I. However, in referring to people with disabilities, there are a few basic rules of courtesy that every one needs to know.

    First, use people first, language, don't say disabled person, but say person with a disability. Someone who has epilepsy is not a victim of epilepsy, but they are person with epilepsy. Put in that person first, gives them a respect that they deserve.

    When interacting with someone, who is hearing impaired or deaf, be sure to talk directly to them, this will help to know that you are addressing them. Don't yell at them, this is rude and if they are hard of hearing, they just need you to speak slowly and clearly.

    Talk to their face, this helps them read your leaps, so even if they can't hear you, they can know what you're saying. Ask politely if they are able to understand you, they will let you know if something is unclear and needs to be repeated.

    Offer to write things down for them, this will give them the opportunity to read what you're trying to say, rather then hear it. When you meet a wheelchair user, there are several things you should not do. Don't talk to the chair, talk to the person, don't talk to the person they're with, talk to them.

    Just as you would want someone to speak directly to you, show them the respect they deserve. Don't lean on their wheelchair, unless you would normally lean on their body. Their chair is an extension of their body, and finally, don't assume they need help, simply ask if there is anything you can help with.

    Most wheelchair users are very experienced in getting around and will ask for help when they need it.

    By following these tips, you'll have positive experiences with people with disabilities.