A-Z of disability etiquette

Thanks for showing an interest in how to approach a person with a disability.

This poster has been developed by Independence Australia to offer you some basic etiquette tips. As everyone is different, it’s only a general guide. The good news is, the tips are similar to the rules applied for good etiquette in general.

We hope you can share this with your family and friends.

To download a higher resolution copy of this poster click here.

We’re happy for other organisations to use this poster but the graphic should remain as is with no alterations unless approved by Independence Australia. If you require edits or a print ready PDF please email [email protected] with the requested edits, print specifications and we’ll be happy to create this for you.

A = ASK before you help; it may not always be wanted

B = BE patient and don’t pretend to understand or interrupt someone with a speech impediment

C = COMMUNICATE naturally with your language and expressions

D = Give specific DIRECTIONS considering distance, weather and obstacles eg. steps
E = Get down to EYE LEVEL during longer conversations by sitting or kneeling
F = FOCUS on the person, not the disability. Don’t bring it up unless relevant.
G = Avoid patronising GESTURES like patting a head or shoulder and back slapping
H = A wheelchair is not a place to HOLD your bags without permission
I = Always respect a person’s dignity, individuality and desire for INDEPENDENCE
J = JOIN the conversation and talk as you would with anyone else
K = KNOW that most people with a disability can make their own decision
L = LEAVE accessible car spots for people with a disability
M = Never MOVE a wheelchair without permission; it is personal property
N = Speak NORMALLY; don’t shout or raise your voice unless asked to do so
O = Avoid OUTDATED terms like “handicapped”, “crippled” and “wheelchair bound”
P = Don’t PAT an assistance or guide dog if they’re in working mode with their owner
Q = Increase QUALITY of life with a donation to disability support services
R = REARRANGE furniture to create a clear path for wheelchairs
S = SPEAK directly to the person with the disability and not to their companion
T = Offer a seat to people with limited mobility on public TRANSPORT
U = UNLOCK and unblock all ramps and wheelchair accessible doors
V = VIEW a wheelchair as freedom to move about independently
W = Only push or lean on a WHEELCHAIR with permission
X = See their X-FACTOR and not their limitations
Z = ZIP it! Not everyone wants to talk about why they’re in a wheelchair

Did you know?

You can help improve the quality of life for people with a disability and those who care for them with a small (or big!) donation to Independence Australia. Every donation will be cherished and is carefully managed to achieve maximum benefit. Click here to show your support for the work we do and donate today. Thank you!