Skip to Content

Americans with Disabilities

Disability Etiquette Tips

  1. When talking with a person with a disability speak directly to that person rather tan through a companion or sign language interpreter.
  2. 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.
  3. When meeting a person with a visual impairment, always identify yourself and others who may be with you.
  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen to or ask for instructions.
  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people who have disabilities by their first names only when extending that same familiarity to all others present.
  6. Leaning or hanging on a person's wheelchair is similar to leaning or hanging on a person and is generally considered annoying.
  7. Listen attentively when you're talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish, rather than correcting or speaking for the person.
  8. When speaking with a person in a wheelchair, place yourself at eye level in front of the person to facilitate the conversation.
  9. To get the attention of a person who is hearing impaired, tap the person on the shoulder or wave your hand. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips.
  10. Relax. Don't be embarrassed if you happen to use accepted, common expressions, such as "See you later" or "Did you hear about this" that seem to relate to the person's disability.
The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. Barack Obama - Excerpt from Inaugural Address, January 20, 2009
Freedom doesn't come with a piece of paper. A piece of paper doesn't end a long history of intentional and purposeful discrimination. Ignorance is our greatest enemy...excluding someone from society simply because of disability is wrong. President Bill Clinton-National Teleconference Address sponsored by Justice For All