This website presents an overview of disability etiquette for providers and caregivers. Best practices, facts and statistics, and other useful information for providers and direct care staff are provided.
The following are practices to keep in mind when interacting with people with disabilities. Never assume you know what a person with a disability wants or needs.
Subject matter expertise provided by:
For a printable version of this information in English, please click here (PDF format).
People First Language (PDF format)
Written by Kathy Snow and revised in January 2008, this article is found on the Disability Is Natural website. The article discusses the power of language and labels, accurate language, attitudinal and environmental barriers, and examples of people first language. This publication is also available en español (PDF format).
Describing People with Disabilities (PDF format)
Created by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities in February 2007, this two-sided handout explores how to talk accurately and appropriately about people with disabilities. The second page can be used alone as a handout on people first language. A version is also available en español (PDF format) .
Basic Disability Etiquette Tips (PDF format)
Developed by the Parent Advocacy Center Educational Resources (PACER) Center, Inc. in 2004, this handout provides fourteen basic tips for interacting with people who have disabilities.
disAbility Etiquette Compiled by People with disAbilities (PDF format)
This handout/poster was developed by the Alliance of People with disAbilities in 2008. It includes thirteen statements written by individuals with various disabilities to reflect a consensus for disability etiquette.
I Dream. I Can. I Will. A Credo for Support
This handout/poster was developed by the Alliance of People with disAbilities with Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift. It includes 18 statements gathered by individuals with various disabilities to educate any audience about universal needs.
Disability Etiquette 101
Written by Mary J. Yerkes and published by Associations Now in December 2007, this handout covers mobility impairments, visual impairments, deafness, speech disabilities, and hidden disabilities. It includes three separate headings for each disability listed. These include “what you need to know,” “interactions with people with disabilities,” and “talking to or writing about people with disabilities.” Reprints with permission from ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, Washington DC.
Telephone Etiquette for Communicating with Customers with Disabilities (MS Word format)
Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, updated this fact sheet in 2008. It includes telephone etiquette for improving communication with individuals who have speech impairments, cognitive impairments, fine motor impairments, vision impairments, and hearing impairments.
Disability Etiquette Tips for Speaking Engagements (PDF format)
Disability Etiquette Tips for Speaking Engagements was developed by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Updated in 2008, this fact sheet covers seven communication tips that are applicable in any setting.
Disability Etiquette: Tips on Interacting with People with Disabilities (PDF format)
Published by the United Spinal Association (updated in 2008), this 51 page booklet includes basic interaction principles as well as detailed information that apply to people with a broad range of disabilities including mobility and sensory impairments, developmental and psychiatric disabilities, HIV/AIDS, learning disabilities, Tourette’s syndrome, and others. This booklet is also available en español (PDF format).
VSA Access and Opportunities: A Guide to Disability Awareness (PDF format)
This booklet was prepared by VSA arts as an informational tool for disability awareness and tips for social etiquette and positive interactions. First printed in 1992, and most recently in 2006, this is a straight-forward and thorough resource for those wanting a greater understanding of people with disabilities.
For questions or comments, please contact us at TQM@dads.state.tx.us.
Updated: April 26, 2013