Access Center- Student Disability Support Services
Below is some guidance on ensuring individuals are engaged in meaningful and positive ways.
- Be open to correction.
- No two individuals are the same – what one person may prefer does not apply to everyone.
- It’s okay to make mistakes as long as effort is made to correct the mistake.
- Be aware of the language you use.
- Aim for using more inclusive terms, such as saying “accessible parking” instead of “handicapped parking”.
- Practice person-first language unless specifically asked not to by an individual. For example: “student with a disability” rather than “disabled student”.
- It’s okay to use common sayings such as “See you later” and “Gotta run”.
- Be polite, professional, and patient at all times.
- Avoid interrupting or completing sentences for someone.
- Avoid “talking down” and raising your voice.
- Offer to repeat or write down information as needed.
- Use descriptive language: ‘The water fountain is located at the end of the right-hand hall, on the left side’ rather than ‘it’s down that hallway over there’.
- Be cognizant of how you speak, and the direction of your speech.
- Speak to the individual directly, regardless of whether or not they have a companion or interpreter with them.
- Avoid blocking your mouth from eyesight when working with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.
- Speak normally and avoid exaggerating or over-emphasizing your words.
- Adjust your physical position so individuals do not need to strain to speak with you. For example: moving out from behind a high counter when speaking to someone in a wheelchair.
- Respect personal space.
- Do not assume your help is needed, and do not repeatedly offer assistance if it has been declined by an individual.
- Never touch someone without permission. This applies to an individual’s belongings, as well.
- Service dogs – including service dogs in training – are working and should not be distracted from their task.
- Do not pet a service dog.
- Do not attempt to call or feed a service dog.
- If walking with someone handling a service dog, walk on the opposite side of the individual than the service dog.
- It is not required for a service dog to be identified by a vest or for a handler to show any certification.