Disability Etiquette

Disability Diversity Training

Windmills: No cost disability diversity/awareness training, breaking barriers.
This program is designed for Human Resource, hiring managers and supervisors to successfully include persons with disabilities as an excellent labor resource. It focuses on attitudes and human factors, as well as concerns and issues related to legal requirements and accommodation.

Disability Etiquette

Disability Etiquette - Tips on Interacting with people with disabilities:

Includes a listing of various types of disabilities and tips on interacting with people with the disability listed.

Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities: Ten easy and simple ideas to follow to ensure appropriate communication with an individual with a disability.

Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities:

  1. Speak directly rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.

  2. Offer to shake hands when introduced. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb can usually shake hands and offering the left hand is acceptable greeting.

  3. Always identify yourself and others who may be with you when meeting someone with a visual disability. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking. When dining with a friend, who has a visual disability, ask if you can describe what is on his or her plate.

  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.

  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people with disabilities by their first names only when extending the same familiarity to all others. Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.

  6. Do not lean against or place your hand on someone's wheelchair. Bear in mind that people with disabilities treat their chairs as extensions of their bodies.

  7. Listen attentively when talking with people who have difficulty speaking and wait for them to finish. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod of the head. Never pretend to understand; instead repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.

  8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.

  9. Tap a person who has a hearing disability on the shoulder or wave your hand to get his or her attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips. If so, try to face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. If a person is wearing a hearing aid, don't assume that they have the ability to discriminate your speaking voice. Never shout at a person. Just speak in a normal tone of voice.

  10. Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as "See you Later" or "Did you hear about this?" that seem to relate to a person's disability.

"The Ten Commandments" were adapted from many sources as a public service by United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc. (UCPA). UCPA's version of "The Ten Commandments" was updated by Irene M. Ward & Associates (Columbus, Ohio), also as a public service, and to provide the most current language possible for its video entitled "The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities".

Disability Friendly Strategies for the Workplace:
Samples of strategies to make the workplace more inviting to individuals with disabilities. Business partners who include disability issues in corporate diversity policies enrich and enhance workplace benefits in the new economy.

Disability Law

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

Information and Technical Assistance for Americans with Disabilities Act can be found on the ADA website. The ADA Information Line provides information about the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Department of Justice ADA Guidance for Business Partners:

Several business partner guidance documents pertaining to the ADA.

  1. ADA Employment Questions and Answers for Business
  2. ADA Guide for Small Businesses
  3. ADA Small Business Tax Incentives Packet
  4. Readily Achievable Checklist for Existing Business Facilities
  5. ADA Information Services

Fair Housing and Employment Act:

The Fair Employment and Housing Act (California Government Code Section 12900-12951 & 12927-12928 & 12955 - 12956.1 & 12960-12976) provides protection from harassment or discrimination in employment because of: age (40 and over), ancestry, color, creed, denial of family and medical care leave, disability (mental and physical) including HIV and AIDS, marital status, medical condition (cancer and genetic characteristics), national origin, race, religion, sex, and sexual orientation.

Disability Access Information Website:

The purpose of the Disability Access Information Website is to provide information and links on the major laws, regulations and areas of interest regarding disability rights and access for Californians with disabilities and other interested persons.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ADA Guidance for Business Partners:

EEOC: Quick Start for Business Partners

Law, Health Policy & Disability Center:

Based at the University Of Iowa College Of Law, the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center concentrates on public policy and its impact on persons with disabilities.

Pacific ADA Center:

The Pacific ADA Center is one of 10 federally funded regional resource centers on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that provides information, problem solving assistance and referrals for implementing the ADA.