Knowledge of Facilities
Know where accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and telephones are located. If such facilities are not available, be ready to offer alternatives, such as the private or employee restroom, a glass of water or your desk phone.
Use a normal tone of voice when extending a verbal welcome. Do not raise your voice unless requested.
When introduced to a person with a disability, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb can usually shake hands.
- Shaking hands with the left hand is acceptable.
- For those who cannot shake hands, touch the person on the shoulder or arm to welcome and acknowledge their presence.
Treat adults in a manner befitting adults.
- Call a person by his or her first name only when extending that familiarity to all others present.
- Never patronize people using wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.
When addressing a person who uses a wheelchair, never lean on the person's wheelchair. The chair is part of the space that belongs to the person who uses it.
When talking with a person with a disability, look at and speak directly to that person rather than through a companion who may be along.
If an interpreter is present, speak to the person who has scheduled the appointment, not to the interpreter. Always maintain eye contact with the applicant, not the interpreter.
Offer assistance in a dignified manner with sensitivity and respect. Be prepared to have the offer declined. Do not proceed to assist if your offer to assist is declined. If the offer is accepted, listen to or accept instructions.
- Allow a person with a visual impairment to take your arm (at or about the elbow.) This will enable you to guide rather than propel or lead the person.
- Offer to hold or carry packages in a welcoming manner.
Example: May I help you with your packages?