Meeting People with Disabilities

  • It's okay to offer help to someone... but ask first. Or wait for someone to ask you for help. 
  • It's okay to ask people about their disabilities and it's okay for them not to want to talk about it. 
  • Remember just because people use a wheelchair or crutches or just because they have a disability doesn't mean they are sick. Many people who have disabilities are healthy and strong. 
  • When talking with people who use wheelchairs, sit down so they won't have to look up at you. 
  • It's okay to use words like "see", "hear", "run" and "walk" when talking with people with disabilities. 
  • Words like "crippie", "gimp", "afflicted", "patient", "spastic", "retard", "suffering", or "victim", among others, are not used when referring to people with disabilities because they tend to be demeaning and promote negative perceptions. 
  • It's okay to ask people who are deaf or people who have speech impairments to repeat what they said if you don't understand them the first time. 
  • If a sign language interpreter is helping you speak with a person who is deaf, make sure you talk to the person, not the interpreter. 
  • People who are blind hear as well as anybody. Don't speak loudly when talking to them or other people with disabilities. 
  • People with disabilities like to have fun. Think of ways to include them in activities with friends and co-workers. 
  • Canine companions, such as guide dogs, are on the job. Never pet or play with them because they should nor be distracted from their work. 
  • Do not park in the parking spaces designated for people with disabilities. They need them more than you do. 
  • Treat a person with a disability the way you like to be treated.

For more information contact one of the REACH centers.