Introduction to Disability Etiquette

work relief 300x199 Introduction to Disability EtiquetteDisability etiquette — this is a vital, oft misunderstood, and somewhat touchy subject. As an individual with a disability, how frequently has a stranger’s ignorance of your disability miffed you? Perhaps someone did or said just the wrong thing, more than likely on accident, but offensive nonetheless. How much better would the world be if individuals without a disability understood various disabilities and how to communicate with those who have them?

Throughout the next several postings we will attempt to enlighten all those who are willing to learn more about “disability etiquette.” As always, we are relying on your input and comments to communicate our message. After all, as a disabled individual, you may be able to give the most helpful disability etiquette tips.

What exactly is “disability etiquette”?  It is basically extending certain courtesies to individuals with a disability in such ways that allow them to feel comfortable, included in society, and respected. Individuals with a disability certainly deserve the same basic rights as individuals without a disability, and that includes respect, honor, and proper communication.

2823000414 dec9745477 295x300 Introduction to Disability EtiquetteWhat are some specific examples of disability etiquette? One example is to avoid leaning on an individual’s wheelchair. While researching this subject, we were surprised to discover that there are those who actually do this! Someone’s wheelchair is an “extension of his or her personal space,” and all individuals are entitled to maintain their own personal space.

Another example of disability etiquette is to ask an individual with a disability if he or she needs help before automatically attempting to help him or her. It is presumptuous and can be demeaning to assume someone needs your help without first asking. For example, if you see an individual struggling to maneuver his or her wheelchair, don’t just grab the wheelchair to “help.” Ask the person if he or she would like your help.

Many examples of disability etiquette seem like common sense, but they are blunders that people make often.

Is there anything in particular that others tend to do that really “sets you off” or makes you feel uncomfortable? Is there something (or many things) you wish others knew to do or not to do in regards to disability etiquette? What are your personal disability etiquette tips? This is a great place to share your opinions and wisdom — others may really benefit from your honesty.

Sources:

http://www.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=ntl_etiquette

http://www.brocku.ca/career-services/bridge-to-success/employers/etiquette

http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/DisabilityEtiquette.pdf

 

 

*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources.  Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for NBC and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
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10 Responses to Introduction to Disability Etiquette

  1. Jason hauzer says:
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    yes! just wondering how ‘s things are going on disability benifits payout is going my name is JASON HAUZEER & i’ve been on valium for 4yrs now clonazapm 2mg for 1& half yrs slowly tappering down to 0.05 now and currently on trazadone my life has bee like a rollar coaster ride up and down hard to sleep someti mers for i was stabbed 4yrs ago got criminal compensation

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  2. Diane Thomson says:
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    Dental Offices…Recently many or most dental offices no longer accept patients on ODSP or OW. The explanation was that the government now pays less than 50% for their services. My local office was so rude when a neighbor approached the reception counter with the dental card in her hand and without uttering a word, was told “we don’t accept you people so turn around and leave”. The receptionist did not even offer to arrange for my friend to pay the balance or make payment arrangements. When I inquired later on her behalf, I was told “they can’t afford to pay the difference anyways so why bother” I was horrified. I did contact the Durham Region Health Department, Oral Health Division and was provided a list of Dentists that in their opinion accepted ODSP and OW billing. I contacted all 12 of them and only two said they would, I also contacted all local offices near our building and also declined services. As a Community Disability Advocate, I posted a notice in our building common areas indicating the sudden change in local dental office policy and listed the two dental offices in Oshawa that said they accept this billing. Our own government has created an environment for these services to be refused and possibly resulting in death in certain situations. The attitude within the offices I contacted were mostly all the same, “we do not service people like you”. So very degrading and insulting. Should anyone attempt to bring justice to these offices, their responses are often considered as true where we are seen as “loosers”. Even though I was not the person that was told specifically to leave, the disrespect was also clear in the persons I spoke with in my calls to locate Dentists who will service people like “US”. How so very degrading.

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  3. christine says:
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    Re: untreted psychiatric disabilities – I think it is quite rude and demeaning when people respond to a person who is experiencing a high degree of distress – by standing around and verbally judging such a person as “drunk” or “crazy.” Some embarrassment or stress is understandable of course – when there is a “scene” unfolding unexpectedly in a public place, but it seems un-necessarily offensive – even to quiet bystanders – when grown adults nearby are so quick to dismiss and insult, and to resort only to making quick and overly simple judgements. Surely “healthy” adults could instead learn to demonstrate some compassion, and choose to model that to the younger people in highly public places like the street or the TTC.

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  4. Judy says:
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    CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – one of the most painful and incurable conditions – rates 42 out of 50 on the McGill Medical Centre pain scale – cancer rates 28 out of 50, to give you an idea of what CRPS patients live with. One of the most misdiagnosed problems and mistreated by doctors, and yet, if recognized and treated properly within three months of the initial injury (which could be something as simple as a sprained ankle), it can sometimes be caught. This and other chronic pain diseases are the “invisible disabilities” (“you look fine”), and are ignored by educators, fundraisers, social network systems, and, worst of all, by medical school educators – veterinary students spend more class time learning about pain than medical students do.
    If you are running a blog about disabilities, please include all these medical problems as well as the obvious visible ones.

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  5. Mina says:
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    I wish everybody, professional or not, would treat all the disabled the same way they treat typical people. We are no different from them; the only thing is that we have worse struggles than they do. I am steadily seeing situations where even if the typical person starts to have even the slightest health or disability come up, everything in their life turns around and bites them. I fear society is becoming a “survival of the fittest” society.

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  6. Jake Roes says:
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    I am a post polio (senior) at age 1 year paralized in both legs and
    in a motorized wheel chair for 5 years, and not able to stand on my
    own. My wife is in Long Term Care at a cost of $26,000.00 per year
    and have been unable to obtain a supplement to help with costs.
    Any suggestions as to where to receive such benefits.

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    • Disability Living says:
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      Goodness, Jake. So sorry to hear about these hardships. Please consider calling the National Benefit Authority to ensure you are getting all the financial assistance the you’re entitled to by government.

      Thanks for writing.

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  7. tinacotts says:
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    hi just registered ,, tina

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  8. .comment-meta .commentmetadata

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  9. .comment-meta .commentmetadata

    Introduction to Disability Etiquette | DisabilityLiving.ca has been saved like a favorite :) , I like your blog!

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