Disability Etiquette Resources is a source of information and/or tools to use on using affirmative language effectively. This section will focus on using word choice, when to ask if an individual requires assistance, discussions on how communication varies, who are those considered disabled, what is upcoming in the disability community, and where are resources found in communities.
Disability etiquette simply is a form of respectful interaction when meeting persons living with disabilities. When communication becomes part of the interaction, it should be appropriate and non-condescending. A conversation should be inviting such as:
TIP No. 1
When you first meet a person with an obvious disability (such as a facial deformity), you don’t want to ask questions about how he/she acquired it. Only if you personally know the individual and are close enough to him/her is when you should even discuss the matter at all. In addition, only if the person brings it up first, it should not even be a part of the communication.
Just because a person has a disability does not mean they are required or even eager to talk about it to anyone, unless they feel inclined to do so. It is inappropriate to ask, hint, make fun of or make mention of a disability type to the individual when disability is not part of the conversation.
“You can’t force someone to respect you, but you can refuse to be disrespectful.” – Unknown
The headlines read:
Kids’ mental health suffers in crisis
Consider this: Children are experiencing mental health difficulties during a crisis. To mention someone is suffering from an illness focuses on the pain associated with the word suffers. Mental health is a product of the interaction of biological, psychological and social factors and not necessarily associated with pain. www.nami.org for more information regarding mental health.
Rivera wants ‘business as usual’ while battling skin cancer
Consider this: Rivera wants ‘business as usual’ while he is encountering skin cancer. When people are living with an illness or disease, they are depending on medication and/or treatment to cure the symptoms they are living with to preserve their quality of life. Read more about skin cancer.