Thursday, February 5, 2009

When You Meet Someone with Disability

Being introduced to a person in a wheelchair or someone who's blind may catch you off guard. Some of us are unsure of how to act and afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers a few suggestions for making a good impression.

If the person...

... is visually impaired. Never pet or play with a guide dog; you'll distract the animal from its job.

... has a speech impediment. Be patient, listen attentively, and resist the temptation to finish his sentences or speak for him.

... is in a wheelchair. Sit down, if possible, so you can chat eye to eye. Don't touch the wheelchair (or, similarly, someone's crutches or cane), because it's considered within the boundaries of an individual's personal space.

... has a hearing loss. Always speak directly to the person, not to her interpreter or assistant if on is present. If you raise your voice, it becomes distorted and even more difficult to understand. Just speak clearly and slowly, facing her. People who are deaf depend a lot on facial expression and gestures for communication cues.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This is all good advice. I think people are, as you said, surprised when confronted with situations they don't see every day. Unfortunately, some people do exactly what they shouldn't do because they don't know any better.