Disability Etiquette


A person with a disability is just that- A PERSON with a disability

People with disabilities (PWDs) have special needs, may need extra assistance, or be unable to do some tasks;
however, the majority of PWDs are capable, contributing members of the community.
The vast majority of all people with a disability are engaged in full or part-time employment -paid or unpaid.

Some volunteers may be uneasy when meeting a person with a disability for the first time.
Treat a person with a disability just the same as you would treat any other person.

If you feel a person may require assistance, ask if you can help and then inquire how best to help.
It is important for people with a disability to maintain as much independence as possible.
However, it is also important for them to be given achievable tasks and be encouraged to progress at whatever rate they are comfortable with.
Don°«t leave a person struggling with a task that is beyond their capabilities for too long, otherwise they may become frustrated and downhearted.

Sailability encourages members to take active roles in administration of our organization.
Members should be provided training and support to acquire new skills.

Sailability always refers to ability rather than disability.
One°«s disability is not focused upon, one°«s ability is acknowledged and nurtured.

Be observant, be respectful, be pleasant ? but most important be relaxed and enjoy the interaction.


Communication is the sending and receiving of messaged.

The main components of communication are:


- pitch, volume variety (expression) 38%
Words verbal or written 7%
Body language non-verbals
Eye contact, facial expression
Posture, gesture, touch

People communicate by using a combination of spoken messages YES and NO.
Ask them to show °»yes°… and then °»no°….
Having established this, communicating then becomes easier when you phrase questions requiring a YES or NO answer.

Sometime it may be necessary to be patient when a person has difficulty with verbal communication.
If you can°«t work out what the person is trying to tell you, then try to get some help.
Don°«t be embarrassed to say that you can°«t understand. It is not going to be news to them.
Often it becomes easier to understand what a person says as you get to know them better.

Communication is a two-way process.
Relaying a message through speech or a communication aid must be combined with listening closely
for there to be effective communication.

Personal space/Touching

The use of personal space can be a type of non-verbal communication.
Personal space is defined as the area immediately surrounding an individual.
Personal space various from person to person and unwanted intrusion into space can lead to the person withdrawing.

Touching is one of the most important non-verbal signals.
Touching depends on the interaction between two people.
Touching can be very positive thing or it can be negative.
Touching is one way in which adults can demonstrate protection, support and caring for each other.
In its negative context, touching may signal superiority and dominance.
A person with a disability may not necessarily want to be touched but be unable to let people know.

Wheelchair Information

Types of wheelchair

There are two basic groups of wheelchairs:
Manual and Electric.
Within each groups there are many different types.


Manual (self propelling) wheelchairs

Electric wheelchairs