Disability Etiquette for Employees
Disability etiquette for employees. Not all disabilities fit in one box. There are disabilities such as depression, asthma and many other illnesses. Many people have temporary disabilities which are just as debilitating as permanent ones. People with disabilities do not always like to discuss their limitations and employers should always practice disability etiquette for employees with disabilities:
- Always sit at the same level as wheelchair using when engaging in communication.
- The wheelchair is part of the employee – respect it as such
- Ask before helping and accept it when they refuse help
- Wheelchair users also us words such as run and walk – use them too
- Parking spaces for the disabled should be respected – do not park there
- Talk directly to the employee in the wheelchair and not to someone next to them
- Do not distract a guide dog – ever!
Language and Speech
- Let the employee talk as they may need more time to reply
- Do not interrupt or complete the employees sentences
- Ask them to repeat what they said if you didn’t understand the first time or ask them to write it down
- Do not pretend to understand
- You will need to use many methods of communication with the employee such as writing, emailing and technology
- Patience is key and so is encouragement
Blindness and vision loss
- Blind people may have partial sight
- Give clear descriptions and directions if asked. Do not use “over there” or “turn that way”.
- Do not feed or pat a guide dog without permission
- Provide information in electronic formats that support the employee who is blind.
- Use words like “see” and “look” – it’s ok
- When leading the blind somewhere, offer your arm or elbow
- When helping a blind employee to a chair, place your hand on the back or side of the chair.