Communicating with People with Disabilities

by Dec 30, 2018

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The success of an integrated workplace depends on effective communication. More people with disabilities are employed than ever before, working side-by-side with people without disabilities. Enhancing the ability of staffers to engage and interact in a relaxed and confident manner can ensure positive and respectful interactions.

eLearning platforms like iDisability™ are now available for corporate learning and training. One such module, “Communicating with Individuals with Disabilities,” was developed to provide effective communication techniques. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Always use person first language. Referring to someone as a person with a disability instead of a disabled person places the focus on the person rather than the disability.
  • Greet individuals with disabilities like you would everyone else. Speak directly to the person with a disability, not his or her companion.
  • If you’re speaking to someone with speech difficulties, listen carefully to what the person is saying, and repeat what you think you heard. Do not pretend to understand.
  • When speaking to a person who is blind, identify everyone who’s present and announce when someone is leaving. And, don’t be self-conscious about using common sight-related expressions, such as, “See you later.” 
  • Have conversations at eye level with people who use wheelchairs. And, do not lean on or touch a person’s wheelchair, as it is part of the person’s personal space.
  • Do not touch or distract service animals. They are working, and human interactions while on duty could break their focus.

The iDisability™ e-learning platform provides a common-sense approach to effectively communicate and respectfully engage every employee within the workforce. To schedule a demonstration, complete the contact form.

Andrew D. Houghton

Andrew D. Houghton

President, Disability Inclusion Solutions

Nationally Recognized Accessibility Expert. Creating Innovative Disability Inclusion Solutions. Certified DOBE.

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