home research news speak out calendar ideas guest book search
Go to UCP Homepage
 
Home News Research Congress Speak Out Calendar Feedback Search
Education Employment Health & Wellness
Housing Parenting & Families Products & Services
Sports & Leisure Transportation Travel
Your UCP: National October 01, 2003
Media & Public Awareness

Etiquette Tips

Ten Commandments of Etiquette for Communicating with People with Disabilities

Outlined below are the "Ten Commandments of Etiquette for Communicating with People with Disabilities" to help you in communicating with persons with disabilities.

  1. When talking with a person with a disability, speak directly to that person rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter.
  2. When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands. (Shaking hands with the left hand is an acceptable greeting.)
  3. When meeting a person who is visually impaired, always identify yourself and others who may be with you. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking.
  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.
  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others. (Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.)
  6. Leaning on or hanging on to a person's wheelchair is similar to leaning on hanging on to a person and is generally considered annoying. The chair is part of the personal body space of the person who uses it.
  7. Listen attentively when you're talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for the person. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod or shake of the head. Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond. The response will clue you in and guide your understanding.
  8. When speaking with a person who uses a wheelchair or a person who uses crutches, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
  9. To get the attention of a person who is deaf, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to determine if the person can read your lips. Not all people who are deaf can read lips. For those who do lip read, be sensitive to their needs by placing yourself so that you face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking.
  10. Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expressions such as "See you later," or "Did you hear about that?" that seems to relate to a person's disability. Don't be afraid to ask questions when you're unsure of what to do.

Source: The President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities


Previous Section
LEARN ABOUT UCP:
About UCP
Research Foundation & Fact Sheets
Donate!
Corporate Sponsors
Public Policy
Media & Public Awareness
Press Releases
Glossary & Definitions
Etiquette Tips
Vocabulary Tips
Disability Links
News Archives
Press Room
Grants & Contracts
Bellows Fund
Web Site Accessibility
En espaņol
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSIONPrinter Friendly VersionSEND THIS ARTICLE TO A FRIENDSend This Article To A Friend
© 2003, UCP National (aka United Cerebral Palsy)
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 800-872-5827/202-776-0406 TTY: 202-973-7197 Fax: 202-776-0414
E-Mail: webmaster@ucp.org
Affiliate Center Entrance
[password required]
Privacy Policy & Terms of Usage