ADA Etiquette and Appropriate Terminology
By Clara Rose Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Influence MATTERS | April 08, 2012
Disability is one small fact about a person with different abilities, just like having red or black hair, green or blue eyes or wearing glasses. Looking beyond the disability, one will see an individual whose life is more similar to theirs than it is different. Discrimination - especially subtle discrimination - continues to thrive. It is everyday stereotypes and assumptions about our differences that are the basis for most discrimination. It is probable that many of these acts are not committed with malice but are the result of a lack of education about proper terminology and etiquette.
The language one uses when talking to or about a person with different abilities, conveys how they feel about disabilities. Behavior and actions will not be interpreted differently by an individual with a disability. Personal attention and proximity are universal messages.
Looking beyond the disability, one will see an individual whose life is more similar to theirs than it is different. Disability is one small fact about a person with different abilities, just like having red or black hair, green or blue eyes or wearing glasses.
We all have the same basic needs; a drink of water when thirsty, the restroom or the use of a telephone and the same desire for enjoyment and participation. All hospitality employees should be aware of the location of ADA amenities and services that are available for guests with different abilities.
The individual with a disability can sense if the other person is comfortable in their presence; is focused on them, not the disability and is willing to extend to the same courtesies that they would extend to those who are not disabled.
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