Small changes to how you view and treat people with disability can go a long way to making them feel welcome around others. Here’s how you can make a start.
Check out our tips on language use.
Take a moment to consider
It’s a good rule to think before you act. And when it comes to communicating with people with disability, it’s good to consider how they experience the world around them. This may differ from your own perception.
- If a person has a visual impairment, imagine how hard it would be to enjoy a movie without audio transcript.
- If someone lives with autism and is sensitive to stimulus, imagine how tiring a busy supermarket would be.
It’s important to think about other perspectives and recognise when certain situations may be challenging.
People with disability shouldn’t be treated all the same, but in a way that suits them. The following suggestions are ways which you can help someone feel more comfortable.
Tips on mindful behaviour
Address the person with disability first and make eye contact, instead of speaking to their carer or interpreter.
Give them space
Provide the person you’re speaking with some time to process and answer you properly.
Make situations accessible
When preparing an event or activity, be mindful of how people with disability may react. Try to provide accessible features like captions, audio transcripts, translators, and accessible pathways.
Treat them as they should be treated
Act towards people with disability like you would anyone else – with dignity and respect. Avoid patronising language that may make them feel looked down upon.
Consult with them
If you’re unsure of how your behaviour affects someone then ask them about it. Everyone is different, and they may have preferences on how you address them.