Disability Etiquette

What Is Disability Etiquette?

Preferred etiquette when meeting, introducing, writing about, assisting, or enjoying the company
of a person who has a disability.

General Behavior   •   Conversation   •   Common Courtesies   •   Portrayal

General Behavior

  • A wheelchair, cane, or any other assistive device used to help a person with a disability is considered part of their personal space and should never be leaned on, picked up, or touched.
  • When in doubt about offering assistance to a person with a disability, ask “may I help you with that” or “could you use a hand”?  If they need help, they will accept it.  If they do not, do not take offense.  Maybe they are learning a new technique for completing a task, or maybe they just want to see if they can do it.  NEVER just help without asking.
  • Treat adults in a manner befitting adults, regardless of their disability. Call a person by his or her first name only when extending familiarity to all others present. Do not patronize people with disabilities by patting them on the head or hand, or by talking to them in baby talk. Reserve this sign of affection for children and pets.

To learn more, go to: http://disability-rights.org/etiq.htm


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