Commentary

October 26, 2012

Disability Employment Awareness Month: Ten Commandments of Etiquette for communicating with people with disabilities

The following Ten Commandments of Etiquette will help you communicate more effectively with people with disabilities.

 

1. When talking with a person with a disability, use eye contact and 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 usually can 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. A wheelchair is part of the personal body space of the person who uses it. Leaning on a person’s wheelchair is similar to leaning on a person and is generally considered inappropriate.

 

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 in doing so. Instead, repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.

 

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. Be sensitive to those who lip read by placing yourself so that you face the light source and keeping hands and food away from your mouth when speaking.

 

10. Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you use common expressions – such as “See you later” or “Did you hear about that?” – that seem to relate to the person’s disability. It’s okay to ask questions when you’re unsure of what to do.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Just American: A century of Black life

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted Harvard-trained historian Carter Woodson. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially...
 
 

Don’t underestimate the importance of sacrifices

As I was reviewing some enlisted performance reports and decorations today, I started contemplating a huge event in my life that occurred almost 20 years ago. In April of 1995, I asked my then girlfriend Tiffani, a fellow Airman at the time, to be my wife, for better or worse. We were married later that...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- What captures your attention?  We look forward to better homes, better jobs, families that don’t fight.  We plan for retirement and hope to live out our days in peace.  But as one person so aptly states, “we plan for happiness, but we’re formed by suffering.”  A foundation that does not give way to the...
 

 
rufit-edit

RUfit? Thriving outside the biodome

Staying fit, sharpening our knowledge about suicide and building resiliency are all hot topics in today’s Air Force. As all of these elements are crucial, resiliency encompasses almost everything that weighs heavy in our ...
 
 

Everyone can be great

A few weeks ago, a football player for the Dallas Cowboys was asked what he’d like from the playoff game home crowd. The player, J.J. Wilcox, responded, “Just be great.” For some reason, that phrase stuck in my mind, and it continued to nag me. Then, I realized why.  One of my foundational beliefs is...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

- An article in the Atlantic Monthly asked the readers to think about things that lead them astray.  If we put it in religious categories, the things that typically lead us astray are: lust, fear, vanity, gluttony.  They are in the words of the author, “the fulfillment of momentary and passing desires.” Why are we...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>