Here are two quick quizzes to help you measure your knowledge and confidence when interacting with persons with disabilities. The answers appear below the quizzes . . . . .
Personal and Professional:
- As you are meeting or being introduced to someone, you notice they have a prosthesis and shake with their right hand. You should:
__A. Withdraw your hand and continue to introduce yourself.
__B. Offer your right had as you would with anyone.
__C. Offer your left hand.
- When meeting someone who is deaf and accompanied by an interpreter, you should:
__A. Maintain eye contact with the person who is deaf.
__B. Maintain eye contact with the interpreter.
__C. Look back and forth between them.
- You are speaking to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing and they ask you to repeat a statement. You should:
__A. Repeat the statement in a louder voice.
__B. Repeat the statement more slowly.
__C. Rephrase the statement.
__D. Use gestures to act out your statement.
__E. Offer to write your statement.
- You see someone who has a disability and they appear to be struggling. You should ignore them so as not to embarrass, draw attention, or infringe upon their independence.
__ True __False
If your answer was True, move to question 6.
- If your answer to the last questions was false, what would you do in this situation:
__A. Watch for a while to determine if they need assistance.
__B. Offer to assist the person.
__C. Assist the person.
- You are conversing with a person who has difficulty speaking. You are only able to understand a few words and phrases. What should you do?
__A. Pretend you understand what was said.
__B. State what you understood and ask the person the repeat the rest of the information.
__C. Smile and walk away as soon as you can.
- When conversing with a person who uses a wheelchair, it is preferable to pull up a chair, if available and convenient, and converse at eye level.
__ True __False
- Offer your hand as you would anyone. The key is to treat people with disabilities as you would anyone. Remember, however, that each person is an individual and how he/she reacts to a particular situation may differ. For example, in this situation, the person with the disability may extend his/her prosthesis or may choose not to extend his/her hand at all.
- Maintain eye contact with the person who is deaf. You are speaking directly to the person who is deaf; therefore it is appropriate to maintain eye contact with this person, not with the interpreter.
- Any combination, or all of these answers may be appropriate, depending on the person and the circumstances. The best recommendation is to use you judgment based on the individual situation.
- The best response in this situation to offer the person assistance and then proceed according to his/her response. It is important to remember that each person is an individual and some people may be grateful for the assistance while others my decline assistance . . . as would anyone else.
- Offer to assist the person. See #4.
- State what you understood and ask the person to repeat the rest of the information. It is always best to be honest and politely tell a person if you are having difficulty understanding them. Stating what you think you understand is a way to make sure that your understanding is really correct, then ask them to repeat the parts of the conversation that you did not understand.
- If possible, the appropriate response is to pull up a chair and converse with this person at eye level. It is not appropriate, however, to kneel, bend over the person, or lean on the wheelchair as support. If a chair is not available, maintain a regular stance and continue the conversation.
Myths and Facts:
Review each of the statements below. Note whether you believe each statement is true or false.
__A. All people who are blind live in total darkness.
__B. People with a cognitive impairment always enjoy jobs with repetitive tasks.
__C. People with quadriplegia are totally dependent on others for daily support.
__D. All people who are blind can read braille.
__E. People who are deaf make ideal employees in a noisy work environment.
__F. People with emotional disabilities cannot work in a stressful environment.
__G. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is equal to that of people without disabilities.
__H. New workplace technologies make if more difficult for people with disabilities to secure and maintain employment.
__I. Accommodating people with disabilities is often cost prohibitive.
__J. Employing and managing employees with disabilities requires unique skills.
- Many people who are blind can see some levels of light and/or colors within various fields of vision.
- People with a cognitive impairment are individuals and vary in ability as do all individuals.
- Different people with quadriplegia have differing levels of independence.
- Only an estimated 10% of people who are blind read braille.
- Some people who are deaf have various types and levels of residual hearing, and some may be bothered by noisy environments, just as some hearing people are. As always, the type of work a person is suited for will depend on the individual’s preferences and skills.
- This answer will depend on a person’s definition of “stressful environment,” and how different kinds of stress affect (or don’t affect) an individual.
- The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is far greater than that of people without disabilities.
- Technological advances have opened many doors for some individuals with disabilities.
- The majority of accommodations required for the workplace cost under $1000. Source: Job Accommodation Network.
- Managing employees with disabilities requires the same kind of good management skills that are needed to manage all workers.
Both quizzes compiled by TransCen, Inc. “Disability Awareness Activity.” www.transcent.org.
Jeff Float, who lost 80% of his hearing in his right ear and 60% in his left ear after contracting viral meningitis at the age of 13 months, competed at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. There he was named team captain by his peers, earned a gold medal in the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay, and finished fourth in the men’s 200-meter freestyle. When he emerged from the pool after swimming the third leg for the U.S. team in the 4×200-meter relay and shattering the world record by five seconds, he heard the roar of the crowd. “It was the first time I remember distinctively hearing loud cheers at a meet. I’ll never forget what 17,000 screaming people sounds like. It was incredible!” Float said. (Wikipedia)
Photo: Rich Clarkson/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images