There’s a funny thing on the internet that lets people in public service jobs know how to deal with those who are disabled – those poor disabled people who have no ability to use Braille or sign language!
“Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle, yet firm.”
“Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person.”
OK; jokes aside. We are in a service business, and we get a lot of practice dealing with people who can walk strait to the proper line without assistance, but we don’t get a lot of practice dealing with people who need different kinds of assistance.
Does that blind person get a benefit from using Closed Caption equipment? Uhm…probably not. Audio Description equipment? Yes! Probably, yes. Should you ask? Excellent idea!!
There are several good reasons to ask. First, it helps with the first basic communication point: everyone gets to know that they are being paid attention to. Two, people jump to the wrong conclusion sometimes. I may think that you are looking at your ticket to find the auditorium number, but you are looking to see if you have the right date.
When someone needs to use the Accessibility Equipment, they may think that
…and, of course, they think that you are an expert, which means, a lot of practice and experience (plus some learning by correcting failures!).
…or want to be a person with a lot of practice and experience
…but no matter how hard you study the equipment you don’t seem to get enough practice. And you are never around on SlowTuesday – or whenever the practice sessions are.
So, the answer is: Communicate. Ask the person if they would like some assistance.
Ah! That’s at the Accessibility Desk. Come with me if you’d like. Sure, your friends too, or we can meet them at the Lounge in a few minutes. Because I am not perfect at this and I don’t want to be embarrassed.
<Work in Progress – tell us your stories so we can improve this section…>
Tips for Working with People (clients and workmates) with Specific Needs
Follow the tips below when working with people with specific needs:
Working with People with Limited Mobility
When working with people with mobility issues:
Working with People with Speech or Hearing Impairments
When working with people with speech difficulties or who are deaf or hard of hearing:
Working with People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
When working with people with speech difficulties or who are blind or partially sighted:
Describe what you are doing as you are doing it. If walking away from a person who is blind or partially sighted, let him or her know. This prevents the situation where they continue talking to no one.
Here is the last tip.
Everything that we do needs practice. Something seems so logical until we try to apply what we know – then we locate the point of nuance that we were not ready for. Full or partial failure is guaranteed.
So, smile through the lessons, smile through the experience. Enjoy everything. Fear nothing. …and panic gracefully.