Disability Awareness: Increasing Employers Understanding of the ADA, Accommodations & Other Supports in the Workplace
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course outline

i. introduction

ii. my story

iii. history

iv. myth & facts

v. research

vi. etiquette

vi. case studies

vii. resources



disability etiquette 

B How to Interview

1. General Tips for Interviewing People with Disabilities

  • Conduct interview in a manner that emphasizes abilities, achievements and individual qualities.

  • Conduct your interview as you would with anyone. Be considerate without being patronizing.

  • If it appears that a person’s disability inhibits performance of a job, focus on HOW the person can perform the job.


Inappropriate: “I notice you are in a wheelchair and I wonder how you will be able to do this job.”

Appropriate: “As you can see from the job description, this position requires some lifting and moving. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed?”

2. Specific interviewing tips for working with people with Mobility Impairments

  • When scheduling interviews, be aware that applicants may need to make transportation arrangements. In giving directions, consider accessible traveling routes, accessible parking spaces, and physical obstacles such as stairs, curbs or steep hills that may hinder or delay a person using a wheel chair, cane or crutches.

  • If the interview is inaccessible, be prepared to find an alternate location.

  • Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchairs (into an office chair, for example) for the duration of the interview.

  • Enable people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach during the interview.

3. Specific interviewing tips for working with people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

  • If the interviewee can lip-read, look directly at him or her and speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact.

  • If an interpreter is present at the interview, it is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee. Interpreters only facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview. Also, keep in mind that just because someone uses a sign language interpreter during the interview does not mean that he or she will require an interpreter at all times to do their work.

4. Specific interviewing tips for working with people with Blind or Visual Impairments

  • When greeting a person with vision impairment always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who might be present at the interview. Describe the interview setting (for example, say, “There is a table in front of you and a seat to your right.”)

  • When offering seating, place the person’s hand on the back or arm of the seat. A verbal cue is helpful as well. Use specifics such as “left ten feet” or “right two yards” when directing a person with a visual impairment.

  • Provide a well-lit area for the interview. Avoid sharp contrasts of light and darkness. A person’s visual acuity may change under different light conditions.

  • Offer assistance in filling out forms. Most persons with visual impairments can fill out forms and sign their names if the appropriate spaces are indicated to them.

5. Specific interviewing tips for working with people who have Cognitive or Psychiatric Disabilities

  • Rephrase comments or questions for clarity.

  • Stay focused on the person as he or she responds to you.

6. Specific interviewing tips for working with people with Speech and Language Impairments

  • Listen attentively when you’re talking to a person who has speech impairments.

  • Exercise patience rather than attempting to speak for a person with speech difficulty. When necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, a nod or a shake of the head.

  • Never pretend to understand if you are having difficulty doing so. Repeat what you understand and the person’s reactions will clue you in and guide you to understanding.

  • Speak with a normal tone of voice. Most speech-impaired persons can hear and understand without difficulty.

7. Test Your Knowledge - View two examples of interviews.



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