Disability Awareness Essay
Introduction As a member of Security Team you may experience the need to communicate with disabled customers or visitors to these premises. It is therefore important that we all understand the correct etiquette to use to ensure that the customer or visitor has a positive memorable visit due to the excellent customer service we provide. Words and phrases guidelines Disability vs. Handicap •A disability is a condition caused by such things as an accident or trauma, disease, or genetics that limits a person’s vision, hearing, speech, mobility, or mental function.
•A handicap is a constraint imposed upon a person, regardless of that person’s ability or disability. These constraints can be physical or attitudinal. For example, stairs and curbs are handicaps imposed on those who use wheelchairs. Points to Note •Individuals with disabilities are people! •Individuals with disabilities are whole people! •They expect to be treated with the same dignity and respect that you do. •Just because someone has a disability does not mean he/she is disabled. Disability Etiquette •Remember, he/she is a person, NOT a disability.
•A wheelchair is part of a person’s body space; do not lean on it. •Speak directly to the individual, not to the person assisting him or her. •Interact with the person at eye level. If need be, sit down. •Be aware of the distance between you and the individual, as he or she may have difficulty hearing you. •Offering help is never the wrong thing to do, but make sure it is provided in an unobtrusive manner. •Follow through on whatever needs to be done. Do not make a premature exit when assisting someone. •Never patronise them by patting them on the head or back.
•Offer to shake their hand, even if it appears as if they have limited use of their arms or have an artificial limb. Simply the gesture will help them feel accepted and create a warmer environment for communication. •For those who cannot shake hands, lightly touch the individual on the shoulder or arm to welcome their presence. •Look at and speak directly to the person, not through a companion, carer, or interpreter. •Treat adults as adults. •Don’t apologize if you use an expression such as “I’ve got to run” or “See you later” that relates to the person’s disability.
These expressions are part of everyday language and it is likely the apology will be more offensive than the expression. •Don’t pet or feed service animals or guide dogs as they are working. •When giving directions, make sure you consider things such as the weather, locations of ramps/curb-cuts, and other physical obstacles that may hinder travel for individuals with disabilities. Speech Disability Etiquette •Never assume…. many people mistakenly identify these individuals as being mentally retarded or mentally ill. Make sure to be patient in finding out which communication method works best for them.
•Be patient and unhurried when talking to the individual; understand that the conversation may not move along rapidly. •Make eye contact. •Use the same tone of voice and volume that you would normally use unless the person asks differently. •Do not try to finish the person’s sentences; rather be patent so the person can complete his or her thoughts. •Ask questions that require a short answer or a nod or shake of the head. •If you do not understand, ask the person to repeat the statement. •Listen to the person’s words, not to the manner in which they are said.
•Respect that a person with a speech impairment may prefer one-on-one conversation to group discussion. •Ask the person how to best communicate instead of guessing. •Be 100% attentive when conversing with an individual who has difficulty speaking. •If you are in a noisy and/or crowded environment, don’t panic. Just try and move to a quieter location to talk. •Let them complete their own sentences. Be patient and do not try to speak for them. Do not pretend to understand; instead, tell them what you do understand and allow them to respond. •Do not be corrective, but rather, encouraging.
•When necessary, it’s OK to ask short questions that require short answers. Wheelchair Etiquette •Do not automatically assist the individual without permission. It is ok to offer assistance. However, if the offer is not accepted, respect his/her request! •Some who use wheelchairs may also use canes or other assistive devices and may not need his/her wheelchair all the time. •Individual who use wheelchairs may require different degrees of assistance. •If you will be speaking with an individual in a wheelchair for more than a couple minutes, find a place where you can sit down to give the individual a more comfortable viewing angle.
•A person’s wheelchair is part of his/her own personal space. Never move, lean on, rock, or touch his/her wheelchair without permission. In addition to being rude, it can be dangerous. •Do not assume that having to use a wheelchair is a tragedy. Wheelchairs can be a means of freedom to fully engage in life. Hearing Disability Etiquette •Do not shout at a hearing impaired person unless they request you to. Just speak in a normal tone but make sure your lips are visible. •Keep conversations clear and find a quiet location to communicate.
•If you are asked to repeat yourself, answering “nothing, it’s not important” implies the person is not worth repeating yourself for. It is demeaning; be patient and comply. •Show consideration by facing the light source and keeping things (such as cigarettes or your hands) away from you mouth while speaking. Visual Disability Etiquette •When meeting someone with a visual disability, identify yourself and others with you (e. g. “Jane is on my left and Jack is on my right. ”). Continue to identify the person with whom you are speaking. •Do not assume that a person needs your help, rather ask if they would like help.
•When providing assistance, offer simple information about the surrounding area •in order to help familiarize the person with the location. •Follow through on what needs to be done when helping an individual with a visual impairment; do not make a premature exit. •When greeting a person, feel free to shake his or her hand after saying, “How do you do? Let me shake your hand. ” •When speaking with a person who is visually impaired identify yourself by name. •Address people by name during a conversation so they know you are speaking to them. •Speak in a normal tone and speed of voice.
•Answer all questions verbally instead of with nods, gestures, or other body language. •Direct your conversation to the person with the vision impairment, not to another person or helper who may be with them. •In order to gain the attention of a person with a visual impairment, touch the individual lightly on the arm as you speak. •Do not feel awkward giving written information to a person with a visual impairment; he or she can always ask for assistance reading it. •Let the person know when you are leaving his or her company. •When walking with someone with a visual impairment, offer them your arm for guidance.
They will likely keep a half-step behind to anticipate curbs and steps. Always remember that the person is not the condition. Keep all your speech person focused, not disability focused. AcceptableUnacceptable A person with a disabilityCripple DisabilityHandicap; handicapped person A person who has mental or developmental disabilitiesRetarded, Spastic Able-bodied; able to walk, see, etc Healthy; normal- Just because someone has a disability does not mean they are not healthy A wheelchair user; walks with aidConfined/restricted to a wheelchair Mental or emotional disabilityCrazy; insane
A person who is deaf/ hearing impairment Deaf and dumb; mute A person with epilepsy An epileptic Avoid terms which carry a negative connotation: Abnormal, Afflicted, Confined, Crippled, Defective, Handicap, Invalid, Lame, Palsied, Retarded, Stricken, Sufferer, Victim, Withered Use empowering, individualized vocabulary; don’t clump them with phrases like “the blind” or “the disabled.