Etiquette for Use with People Who Have an Invisible Disability
When you are with a person who has an invisible disability:
- Don't refuse to believe what you cannot see by doubting a person's truthfulness.
- People do not like to always have to identify themselves as a person with a disability. When planning an event, add a note about accessibility needs with a direct number to a real person. That opens the door for the person to reach out and not feel like they are imposing.
- The best tactic is to simply talk to a person and ask what they can and cannot do.
- Always assume there is a person with a hidden disability in a group. So always say "Rise if you are willing and able," and always plan quick stretch breaks every 30-45 minutes.
- If a person says they cannot do something, don't try to coax or cajole or convince them to try anyway.
- Invite partial participation, and ask what you can do to make participation possible.
- A hearing impairment is a hidden disability; always assume there is a person in your group with hearing loss so face your audience.
- Don't judge another person's pain or limitations; accept as true what the person tells you.