Ask before you help. Do not assume that persons with disabilities are in constant need of assistance. When needed, persons with disabilities will ask for your assistance themselves. Offer help only when you see that the person needs it. 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. Don't go out of your way to help persons with disabilities and don't try to do things instead of them. When possible, simply create conditions for them to carry out the task themselves.

Always follow instructions of the person you are assisting. By forcing assistance on persons with disabilities without first getting their instructions, you may put them into danger. If you help someone down a curb without waiting for instructions, you may dump her out of the chair. You may detach the chair’s parts if you lift it by the handles or the footrest.
Be sensitive about physical contact. Some people with disabilities (including those with visual impairments) depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them, even if your intention is to assist, could knock them of balance.

Do not make assumptions. People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. It is not always, that persons with disabilities are in need of special attention. Behave as you would when interacting with persons without disabilities. And if you are ever unsure how to interact with a person who has a disability, just ask.

Talk to persons with disabilities as you would talk to anyone else. Do not feel awkward or restrained. It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time.

When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, use a chair yourself, whenever possible, in order to place yourself at the person's eye level to facilitate conversation. The same principle applies for conversations with other persons in seated position or short-statured persons.

When talking to a person with a disability, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion, assistance or a sign-language interpreter who may be along.
Have respect for personal space. Avoid leaning on a person's wheelchair, scooter, walker or other assistive devices. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space. Don’t lean over someone who uses a wheelchair to shake another person’s hand or ask a wheelchair user to hold coats.

When accompanying a person with a visual impairment, offer your arm instead of grabbing theirs. Otherwise, by pulling their arm, you may upset their balance. Place yourself one step ahead of them so that you are not obliged to push them, thus putting the person into danger. Identify yourself before you talk or make physical contact with a person who is blind. Tell her your name and your role if it’s appropriate, such as security guard, usher, case worker, receptionist or fellow student. And be sure to introduce her to others who are in the group. EXAMPLE: Hi Marc, its Anna and on my right is Paul Scott.

When conversing in a group, give a vocal cue by announcing the name of the person to whom you are speaking. Speak in a normal tone of voice, indicate in advance when you will be moving from one place to another and let it be known when the conversation is at an end. When conversing in a group, in which a person with a severe vision impairment is a member, look directly at that person when you are talking to him or her, just as you would with anyone else. This is felt by that person, as a sign of respect and inclusion.

To get the attention of a person with a hearing impairment, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, naturally and slowly to establish if the person can read lips. Not all persons with hearing impairments can lip-read. Those who can will rely on facial expression and other body language to help in understanding. Show consideration by placing yourself facing the light source and keeping your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. Keep your mustache well-trimmed. Shouting won't help. Written notes may.

Listen attentively when you’re talking to a person who has a speech impairment. Keep your manner encouraging rather than correcting. Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for a person with speech difficulty. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers or a nod or a shake of the head.

When you’re talking to a person who has a speech impairment, never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Repeat what you understand,
or incorporate the person’s statements into following questions.

The person’s reactions will clue you in and guide you to understanding. If you have difficulty communicating, be willing to repeat or rephrase a question.

Open-ended questions are more appropriate than closed-ended questions.


:: Know where accessible restrooms, drinking fountains and telephones are located, so that you can pass that information on. Be familiar with policies and procedures that affect persons with disabilities. If accessible facilities are not available, be ready to offer alternatives, such as table service in a restaurant without an accessible ordering counter.

:: Where a service counter is not yet made accessible, watch for persons with motility impairments as they enter and go out to meet them and offer service.

:: Giving them individual service is an interim solution, until the counter is made physically accessible to them.

:: Also at course snack bars, snack trailers and driving range service counters, watch for persons using single rider carts or others with disabilities and be ready to offer them individual service, as needed.

:: In service areas where accessible counters do not exist, don’t wait for persons with disabilities to come to you to ask for help – approach them and ask if you can be of assistance.

:: The goal is to provide facilities that can be used by persons with disabilities in the same way that they are used by those without disabilities. Both physical modifications and policies and procedures help us to provide equal treatment.

:: 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

• Offer to hold or carry packages, etc. in a welcoming manner
Example: May I help you with your packages?

• When offering to hand a coat or umbrella, do not offer to hand a cane or crutches unless the individual requests otherwise

:: People with disabilities are just normal people with physical limitations. Please don’t stare for long periods of time.