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Effective Communication with the Disabled

Human communicates to convey information in various forms. One of the approaches is via daily conversations, in fact the technology also enables people to communicate using mobile phone. It is by communication as an enabler that can channel through our information so other people could grab the desired content. Even so, the system is only subject to those who are normal, listing off the disabled out of this context.

 

Disabled people can be put into different categories such as the visual impairment, audio impairment, and physical abnormalities. Each category engages different ways and approaches to communicate when initiating conversation, in exception of people with physical abnormalities who are able to talk, see, and listen normally.

 

This is a guidance discussing several tips and approaches on how to communicate with the disabled.

 

  1. Visually Impaired People

If you happen to encounter someone with visual impairment, remember just to be yourself and act naturally. These are tips by Vision Australia that can be of guidance.

  • Introduce yourself normally. They may not able to recognise you by your voice.
  • The intonation should be kept normal too but very clear. This type of people does not necessarily mean they are deaf.
  • Use everyday language but avoid some words such as “see” and “Oh look!” to ensure they are not irritated.
  • If you’re in a group, introduce each and everyone clearly.
  • Do not leave a conversation hanging without telling them. Ask politely if you are to leave.
  • When giving direction, explain it in detail like “the window is on your right” instead of “the window is there”.

 

  1. Audio Impaired People

For these people, their vision may be clear and able to see the person communicating with them and the limitation is only their listening ability. These are the approaches suggested by Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre when communicating with them.

  • Avoid yelling or talking too loudly.
  • Avoid mumbling.
  • Reduce facial expressions and stresses when having conversation to avoid being misunderstood.
  • When using words, do not talk either too fast or too slow.
  • When using written communication, make sure you understand the context before showing it to them.
  • Photos and drawings might be helpful.
  • Utilise technology such as computer writing, mobile phone, and emails.

 

  1. Mute people

These people create another story. They may have the capability to see and listen but are unable to speak. If you are to interact with them, follow these steps as suggested by Health & Disability Commissioner.

  • Be calm and try to be a listener if they are trying to talk.
  • If you have a question, throw questions that require only simple answers to understand such as nodding and shaking head.
  • Try to use written communication only if you do not understand their verbal message.
  • Avoid facial expressions if you fail to comprehend.
  • Avoid saying anything when they are trying to communicate with you.