Check out this informative, and sometimes funny, instructional disability training video on the general rules of etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities:
Here are some helpful tips and tools on how to interact with those with disabilities, provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services:
- Focus on People First: The most important thing to remember when you interact with people with disabilities is that they are people. Their disability is just one of the many characteristics they have. People with disabilities have the same needs we all do: first and foremost among them is to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Practice the Golden Rule: Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. Think of the person first, not their disability. Don’t shy away from people with disabilities – relax and be yourself!
- Always Ask Before Giving Assistance: Just because a person has a disability, they don’t necessarily need or want your assistance. Never help someone without first asking them.
- Think Before You Speak: Avoid using labels when you speak – they are offensive to everyone, including people with disabilities. Always use people first language when writing about or speaking to people with disabilities.
- Avoid Showing Pity or Being Patronizing: People with disabilities aren’t victims. When you talk to a person with a disability, don’t use pet names, such as “honey.” It is also very disrespectful to pat people with disabilities on the head or talk down to them as though they were children.
- Talk to Them Directly: When you interact with people with disabilities, talk directly to them, not to their companions, aides, or interpreters.
Greenwich Library is committed to providing equal access to services and collections in a friendly and accommodating environment to our entire community. One of our mission goals is to provide resources and promote accessibility to all our patrons. To learn more, including about assistive technologies, homebound services, and more check out greenwichlibrary.org/accessibility.
Ed, ADA Librarian