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When dealing with someone who has a disability, please:

  • be aware of attitudinal barriers that often exist in our workplaces.
  • be aware of indirect or institutional discrimination
  • be considerate of a person’s feelings when dealing with them as it might be difficult to fully understand the difficulties a person with a disability experiences.
  • be aware that a person with a disability should be spoken to the same way as you would speak to anyone else.
  • be patient with someone who has a speech impediment—they have a right to be heard as well.


For the speaker:

  • Look at the speaker.
  • Position yourself to get a full view, not just a profile.
  • The sounds most difficult to hear are the easiest to see.
  • If you’re in a noisy environment like a crowded room or store, try to direct the speaker to a quiet area.
  • Try to eliminate background noises (television, radio, running water, etc.)


For the listener:

  • Avoid sitting close to walls or other hard surfaces. Sound may bounce off these surfaces.
  • Move closer to the speaker when possible.
  • Don’t bluff or nod as if you understand when you don’t. It is better to ask questions. Repeat or rephrase what you think you heard. This gives the speaker the opportunity to correct any mistakes. “You said you would return soon. Is that right?” Remove obstacles (cigarettes, chewing gum, pipes and food) when speaking.
  • Realize that beards and mustaches can interfere with the ability to speech-read.
  • Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding.
  • Face the listener; don’t turn away while speaking.
  • Get the listener’s attention first by gently touching the shoulder, raising a finger or some other type of signal. Use appropriate gestures to enhance understanding.
  • Slow down your speech, but don’t exaggerate

This information is extracted from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


  • Speak naturally when introduced to an individual who is blind or vision impaired – he she will certainly let you know if they cannot hear you.
  • Using words like “look” and “see” are fine. They are part of our everyday language, and it is important to be natural and ease, otherwise you will both feel awkward.
  • Always speak directly to a person who is blind or vision impaired, not through a companion or guide.
  • Address people who are blind or vision impaired by their names, so they know you are speaking to them.
  • Identify yourself by name on entering a room in which there is a person who is blind or vision impaired. It announces yours presence and helps to identify you to the person.
  • Introduce a person who is blind or vision impaired to all people present in your goroup, so he or she is aware of who else is present.
  • Be aware that people who are blind or vision impaired may not be able to see what is going on, therefore talk about what is happening.
  • Tell a vision impaired or blind companion when you are leaving. This saves him or her the embarrassment of talking without a listener.
  • Shake hands when meeting or leaving a person – this can substitute for a friendly smile.
  • When giving directions, be clear and precise using terms like “left”, “right”, “the direction you are facing now”. Avoid giving visual clues like “over there”, or “the blue building”.
  • In situations of danger say “STOP” rather than “LOOK OUT”.

This information has been extracted from the Professional Development Resource Kit, June 2002 Association of the Blind


What to do to assist someone who requires help in the classroom due to vision impairment.

  • Larger Monitors
  • Monitors with high resolution
  • Glare guards
  • Magnification Tools & Screen magnification software such as ZoomText and JAWS
  • Large print keyboard labels
  • Screen reader found in ZoomText and JAWS software
  • Good lighting/adjusting lighting through the windows
  • Modify or convert printed materials to suit a persons visual needs
  • Ensuring they have updated and cleaned their glasses


If you have a hearing or speech problem and want to contact the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education then you may want to use the ACE (Australian Communication Exchange) National Relay Service. This is a operator assisted service whereby callers can communicate via an operator who will facilitate messages from person to person.

For further information visit the Australian Communication Exchange website.
8am to 5:30pm Monday to Friday – Freecall
TTY: 1800 555 630
1800 555 660
1800 555 690