In February, our social media channels focused on disability etiquette, and discussing appropriate ways to communicate and interact with people with disabilities. There are many different forms of this etiquette: terminology; wheelchair/mobility; hearing, vision or speech impairment; or hidden disabilities. Read more about disability etiquette. There are definitely correct ways to converse with a person, and much of our feedback celebrated proper etiquette being at the forefront of our social conversation. Many people contributed to the dialogue by emphasizing its importance, most notably mentioning to never pat a working helper dog.
All of the etiquette is important, and while it may seem like common sense to those who experience living with a disability, it may not be as obvious to others. It’s important to create awareness and encourage others to educate themselves on proper disability etiquette. One respondent acknowledged that after participating in Wheelchair Dare, an event that has fundraisers spend a day in a wheelchair, he could already relate to some of the mobility/wheelchair etiquette and see how important it is to share. Of course, everyone should remember the “Golden rule” for interacting with someone who has a disability is the same as interacting with anyone – treat the person with kindness and respect! Share your knowledge with others and encourage inclusive environments for everyone.