The Cornell Just-in-Time Toolkit for Managers

Tips, checklists, and resources to help managers lead a disability inclusive workforce.

Topic #3
Let's Talk:
Interacting with Employees Who Have Disabilities
1. The phrase, “You’re so brave” is an appropriate thing to say to someone with a disability.
2. When someone who uses a wheelchair is going uphill, you can assume they need help and give them a push.
3. When talking with someone who is hearing impaired speak slowly and loudly.
4. It’s OK to use phrases like, “See you later” or “Did you hear about Betty’s son” when talking with someone who has a visual or hearing disability.
5. The words “the disabled” and “individuals with disabilities” are not the same.
6. The words, “I don’t know how you do it. I could never do what you do,” make individuals with disabilities feel appreciated.
7. When speaking with someone who uses a sign language interpreter, look directly at the person instead of at the sign language interpreter.
8. When shaking hands with someone who does not have use of their right arm, it’s OK to simply nod and verbally greet them.
9. The word “handicapped” is usually not preferred by individuals with disabilities.
10. Asking a veteran what happened during their service is a good way to get to know a veteran who has just returned from deployment.