Respecting and Working with Disabled People in the Workplace. Part 2

Working with colleague who’s hearing impaired

It is usually hard to detect a hearing impaired person just by looking at them. When you do know that a colleague or client is hearing impaired:

1.)     The best way to get their attention is to position yourself so he or she can see you, or tap the person gently on the shoulder (DO NOT poke. Poking can be annoying to most people, with disability or not).

2.)    If the person use ASL or the American Sign Language, and you happen to know it as well, use it to communicate with that person. If you are not knowledgeable to it, however, find someone who does so you two can talk. Do not insist a person with a hearing impairment to teach you ASL, because that would be rude.

3.)    If there is an interpreter, let him or her stand next to you, and you should face the person. Talk to the person, not the interpreter, because an interpreter’s job is to facilitate communication; all the deciding is for the client. Pause occasionally or slow down if the interpreter falls behind.

…Visually Impaired

There are varieties of visual impairment. One is tunnel vision, meaning a person only sees a small, centralized part of an object; another is partial vision, in which one sees only a portion of an object; and last is total vision impairment, in which one sees none.

In this case, the best way to communicate with a visually impaired person is through speech.

Working with a visually impaired colleague:

  • Greet the person who has the impairment with ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ and so on. Although the person will in no time get used to your voice, you should always announce yourself and whoever is with you.
  • If a printed material is not in braille, offer to read the material for the colleague or client.
  • Use names in dialogues in a meeting. State whoever is speaking, and whoever it is the speaker is talking to.

…Mobility Impaired

Mobility impairment can vary from walking with a cane or using the aid of a wheelchair. Some things must be observed when working with a colleague with mobility impairment:

1.)    When giving directions, always take in mind their impairment. This is because often cannot go to most places where those without the mobility impairment can.

2.)    Never lean to a person’s wheelchair, especially while talking. This exhibits impoliteness.

3.)    DO NOT USE the wheelchair of another. This is part of their personal things, so give the privacy to them.

4.)    Do not push the wheelchair without permission. Offer your help kindly, first.

Always keep the wheelchair of a person in his reach