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Disability Etiquette: 5 Must-Know Tips When Interacting to People with Disabilities


Have you never gotten to know someone with a disability before? Are you about to meet a person with a disability and you aren’t sure how to interact with them? Authentic Home Healthcare and Nursing Solutions LLC, a concerned provider of home health care in Virginia, offers these 5 must-know tips that you should keep in mind.

  • Focus on the person, not the disability. First and foremost, remember that they are more than their disability. Remember that people with disabilities have the same needs that we all do: first among them is to be treated with respect and dignity. When you interact with people with disabilities, focus on their abilities – not their disabilities. Remember that their disability is just one of the numerous characteristics that they have. People with disabilities have their unique skills, interests, talents, knowledge, and experiences as well.
  • Ask before helping. Remember, just because someone has a disability, don’t immediately assume that they need help. For instance, if the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can typically navigate it without any problems. Refrain from suddenly grabbing the person (even if your intention is to help them), since it might suddenly knock them off balance. Respect their personal space and boundaries. Also, avoid touching their cane, wheelchair, or assistive equipment – most people with disabilities see their equipment as a part of their personal space. Be sensitive about physical contact and always ask before helping.
  • Interact directly with them, not their companion. When interacting with a person with a disability, talk to them – not their companion. Don’t act as if they are not in the room and don’t exclude them from the conversation.
  • Don’t distract their service animal. If you meet someone with a service animal (i.e. a dog), please don’t touch or distract the animal. Remember, service animals are working and assisting their owner. Touching or playing with them can break their concentration and affect their work. Note: You may ask the owner if it’s alright to interact with their service animal. Some owners allow interaction if their animal is not on duty.
  • Always practice the “Golden Rule”. Always remember and practice the Golden Rule, “Do to others what you want them to do to you”. In fact, you should always practice this and not just when you are interacting with a person with a disability.

These are just some tips from your friendly home health care agency in Dumfries, Virginia.

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