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Disability Etiquette 101 Presented by: Statewide Disability Coordinator for Emergency Management Florida Division of Emergency Managtement 850-413-9969.

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Presentation on theme: "Disability Etiquette 101 Presented by: Statewide Disability Coordinator for Emergency Management Florida Division of Emergency Managtement 850-413-9969."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disability Etiquette 101 Presented by: Statewide Disability Coordinator for Emergency Management Florida Division of Emergency Managtement

2 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Approximately 2.5 million people in the United States are “legally blind” – meaning that even with corrective lenses, they have less than 20/200 visual acuity or that their visual field is 20 degrees or less, regardless of acuity. Many of them have some residual vision. Less than 10% of blind people use Braille for reading; many people who are legally blind are able to read large print.

3 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Many have “low vision.” Many have eyesight that is better than 20/200 or a visual field that is greater than 20 degrees, but they have some significant impairment that substantially limits their ability to see well under different circumstances.

4 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Visual impairment does not necessarily mean an individual is legally blind or totally blind. It could mean a dependency on glasses, contact lenses, etc.

5 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Many people who are blind or who have low vision wear very thick glasses or very dark sunglasses. Others carry white canes. Still others use service animals such as guide dogs. Some walk with another person who serves as a sighted guide. Some who are legally blind or who have low vision do not use a cane or a guide dog or wear glasses of any kind.

6 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Visual Impairments –How do survivors arrive at your site? –How do survivors move about your facility? –How do you communicate with visually impaired survivors? –How do survivors register for services ?

7 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Using Appropriate Language. Use disability-sensitive language and etiquette. Using words such as “blind, visually impaired, seeing, looking or watching television” are acceptable words in conversation. Similarly, using descriptive language, including references to color, patterns, and the like, is appropriate. When referring to survivors with disabilities, refer to the person first, then the disability.

8 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Forms and Documents. Upon request, staff should read fully, and provide assistance in completing registration forms and other documents based on requirements of law. You may find it more helpful to your survivors to provide frequently used documents – including registration instructions – in Braille and large print. Many people who are legally blind or who have low vision are able to read documents printed in 18 or 20 point type in a sans serif font such as Arial. Personnel can offer to assist in completing the form.

9 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments You may simply place a cardboard edge horizontally below a signature line or orient the opening of a signature template wherever a signature is required.

10 Disability Etiquette 101 Visual Impairments Orientation to a Room or Service Area. Staff should always inform survivors as to the location of the nearest fire exit, using specific language such as, “In case of a fire or other emergency, exit the room to your left. Someone will be there to assist you.”

11 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments Do not lean on the wheelchair unless you have permission to do so. A wheelchair is part of an individual’s personal space. Do not assume a person using a wheelchair needs assistance. Always ask before providing assistance. If your offer of assistance is accepted, ask for instructions and follow the instructions given.

12 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments When talking to a person who uses a wheelchair, look at and speak directly to that person, rather than through a companion.

13 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments Relax and speak naturally. Do not be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted common expressions such as "got to be running along" that seem to relate to the person's disability.

14 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments When talking with a person in a wheelchair for more than a few minutes, use a chair, whenever possible. This can facilitate conversation.

15 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments When greeting a person who uses a wheelchair, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands with that person even if he/she has upper extremity limitations.

16 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments Use proper terminology when referring to a person who uses a wheelchair. Terms such as "wheelchair bound" or "confined to a wheelchair" are inappropriate. Using a wheelchair does not mean confinement. Do not assume that all people who use wheelchairs have the same limitations. People use wheelchairs for a variety of reasons and have different limitations and abilities.

17 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments When giving directions to a person with a mobility impairment, consider distance, weather conditions, and physical obstacles such as stairs, curbs, and steep hills.

18 Disability Etiquette 101 Physical Impairments If a person uses a service animal, do not pet, feed or try to play with it. A service animal is working and should not be interrupted.

19 Disability Etiquette 101 Hearing Impairments Address questions, comments, or concerns directly to the individual, not to a person in their presence. Shouting or exaggerating one's speech does not help communication. To get a person's attention, call his/her name. If there is no response, lightly touch him/her on the arm or shoulder. If you do not understand what is being said, do not pretend to understand. ASK again !!!

20 Disability Etiquette 101 Hearing Impairments Make direct eye contact. Natural facial expressions and gestures will provide important information to your conversation. Do not allow your face and mouth to be obscured by your hands, hair, or food. When speaking to a person who lip-reads, speak clearly without over-articulating. If you experience extreme difficulty in communicating orally, ask if writing is all right. Two people can share a keyboard and the view of a computer screen or just use a note pad.

21 Disability Etiquette 101 Cognitive Impairment Don’t assume the person is not listening just because you are getting no verbal or visual feedback. Ask them whether they understand or agree. Don’t assume you have to explain everything to people with learning disabilities. They do not necessarily have a problem with general comprehension. Offer to read written material aloud, when necessary.

22 Disability Etiquette 101 Speech Impairments Listen patiently and carefully. Don’t complete sentences for the person unless they indicate they need help. Don’t pretend you understand what a person with a speech disability says just to be polite. Ask the person to repeat if you don’t understand. Ask the person to write down a word if you’re not sure what they are saying.


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