Staff Members with Disabilities
Staff members with disabilities come from various backgrounds and have different disabilities. Here are a few common disabilities:
Vision impairment describes people who are completely blind or have partial vision loss
When speaking to a staff member that has vision impairment always identify yourself and any others with you. Ask if the person needs assistance and listen to specific instructions. When guiding a person with vision loss, let them take your arm and don’t take theirs. Some people with vision loss will have a guide dog – do not touch the guide dog without permission.
- deaf or hard of hearing
- mental health conditions
- intellectual disability
- acquired brain injury
- autism spectrum disorder
- physical disability.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing
People who are hard of hearing may be totally deaf or slightly deaf. People who are hard of hearing may use a range of strategies and equipment, such as:
- lip reading
- writing notes
- hearing aids
- sign language interpreters
when talking to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, look and speak directly to them, not just to the people who are with them – including interpreters. Speak clearly and with a normal tone unless asked to speak louder. If you struggle to understand what the person is saying – ask them to repeat it or write it down.
Ensure that staff are briefed and prepared on how to greet and help people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Allow for more time and flexibility for training. Consider the workspace location so that the staff member can see the people entering the room.
People with Physical Disability
Common characteristics are that some aspect of a person’s physical functioning, such as:
People with physical disability are usually experts in their own needs and know the barriers.
- Ask for assistance
- Be at the same level when talking to staff members with disabilities
- Never assume that a person with a physical disability is lower in intelligence
- Ask permission before touching a person’s wheelchair or cane