May 2, 2009

7 tips for communicating with people with disabilities

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Glenda Watson Hyatt at the Venetian Hotel

Glenda Watson Hyatt, who blogs at Doitmyselfblog.com (“Your Accessibility Conscience”), gave an extraordinary presentation here at the SOBCon, Business School for Bloggers, talking about how to make websites and blogs more accessible to the disabled. It took her three months to perfect her presentation. I conducted a video interview with her that I’ll post here soon.

You can download her free How POUR is Your Blog? Tips for Increasing Your Blog’s Accessibility and discover how accessible your blog truly is. (You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the ebook.)

Here are her 7 Tips for Communicating With People With Disabilities:

1. Speak directly to the person rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter.

2. Offer to shake hands with people who have limited hand use or who wear an artificial limb is appropriate.

3. Identify yourself and others who may be with you when meeting a person who is sight impaired.

4. When offering assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Listen to or ask for instructions.

5. Listen attentively when you’re talking with a person who has difficulty speaking. Be patient and wait for the person to finish. Ask short questions that require short answers, a nod or shake of the head.

6. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with a person in a wheelchair. Squat down, lean against a counter or take a seat.

7. When speaking with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, look directly at the person and speak clearly and expressively to deermine if the person can read your lips.

Related

How to make your website more accessible: Video interview with Glenda Watson Hyatt

How POUR is Your Blog? Tips for Increasing Your Blog Accessibility (free ebook from Glenda Watson Hyatt))
JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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