Disability Sensitivity Training

Disability Sensitivity Training
Disability Services
Tidewater Community College
Beth Callahan
Purpose of Disability Training
Heighten the awareness of barriers that influence
academic performance, productivity, and major
life skills of people with disabilities.
Disability defined…
• Any individual who provides objective evidence of a
physical or mental impairment that substantially
limits one or more of the major like activities such
▫ Walking
▫ Seeing
▫ Hearing
▫ Speaking
▫ Breathing
▫ Learning
▫ Working
Disability Facts
• There are over four hundred students on the
Virginia Beach campus with a documented
• College students with disabilities are less likely
to complete their degree programs than students
without disabilities (Stodden, 2001).
• There are over 500 known disabilities. Common
disabilities include: vision, hearing, speech,
physical and developmental.
Disability Facts continued…
• 1 out of every 6 people in the United States
reports having a disability (U.S. Census Bureau,
• 1 out of every 9 first-year post-secondary student
reports having a disability (U.S. Dept. of
Education 2003-2004).
Disability vs. Handicap
A disability is a condition that limits a person’s
ability to walk, talk, see, hear, or learn.
A handicap is an imposed barrier that restricts a
It is up to everyone to help make sure disabilities
are seen as challenges and not burdens.
Words Are Powerful Tools
• The words we use reflect how we believe. It is
important to always refer the “person with the
disability”-always place person first.
• Don’t underestimate people with disabilities. It
is wrong to assume a person’s physical disability
has lessened his or her mental ability.
• Avoid labels. Never refer to people by their
disability. For example, don’t say “the
handicapped, the crippled, the blind.”
People Who Are Visually Impaired
• Always identify yourself and other who may be
with you when meeting someone with a vision
• Never touch someone with a vision impairment
unless they know that you are there.
• Offer your arm-don’t propel or lead a person
with a vision impairment.
• When accompanying a person with a visual
impairment offer to read signs, menus, etc.
Student Quotes
“People scream at me and slow down their speech
when they find out I can’t see.”
“Don’t be afraid to use words like ‘look’ or ‘see’
when you are around me.”
People with Physical Disabilities
• Do not lean or hang on someone’s wheelchair.
People with physical disabilities treat their
wheelchairs as extensions of their bodies.
• Never patronize people who use wheelchairs by
patting them on the head.
• Never move adaptive equipment outside the
person’s reach.
• Place yourself at eye level when speaking to
someone using a wheelchair.
Student Quotes
• “If you talk to me please meet my eye level if
possible, it is uncomfortable to keep looking up.”
• “It’s okay to ask if I need assistance, but don’t
• “Don’t be afraid to use words like ‘walking’ or
‘running’ around me.”
People Who Are Deaf or Hard of
• Use body language. It offers clues to what you
are saying.
• Ask the person how they would prefer to
communicate (lip read, sign, write notes, etc.)
• Look directly at the person and speak clearlynever shout at a person with a hearing
impairment, just speak in a normal tone.
Student Quotes
• “Most people don’t know that when you lip read
you can only understand about 25-30% of
spoken English.”
• “Talk to me, not the interpreter.”
• “It’s okay to ask me to repeat something I’ve
said, just don’t pretend you understand.”
General Suggestions
• Do not be afraid of saying or doing the wrong
thing. It is better to communicate with a person
with a disability and say the wrong thing than to
ignore or avoid contact completely.
• Do not feel that students with disabilities are
getting “unfair” advantages. Accommodations
help to even the playing field.
• Recognize that a person with a disability may
give you a unique and new perspective in school
or life.
People face different barriers everyday.
Some are physical while others are
“attitudinal”. Treat all people with
patience, an open mind and flexibility
as well as the respect and dignity you
expect for yourself.
Living in a Diverse World
• Diversity means variety in race, gender,
ethnicity, age, physical and mental abilities and
sexual orientation.
“Non-traditional Student”
• Works full time or part time will attending
community college
• Commutes to school
• Is of a racial or ethnic minority
• Is a parent
• Has little time for extra curricular activities
• Is the first in the family to go to college
• Comes from outside the United States
What is your most embarrassing
• How did you feel?
• Imagine if that is how you felt everyday.
• How would you deal with that?

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