Better Serving People With Disabilities: A Guide To Business Accessibility

As a business owner, you are sure to service and employ all different types of people This, of course, includes people with disabilities. Whether you plan on hiring people with disabilities to work at your business or you simply want to know how to better interact with and accommodate customers with disabilities, there are some important things to keep in mind. Thankfully, you do not need a think tank to learn how to improve your business for those with disabilities. This post will provide some helpful tips for business owners to make their businesses more accommodating and accessible for the disabled population.

The Golden Rule

The first, and most important, rule of thumb when managing or interacting with individuals with disabilities is to not baby them. Many individuals wrongfully assume that physical disability also implies mental disability. Many also wrongfully believe that those with intellectual disabilities are not developed enough to be treated as an adult. These are common misconceptions, and it is crucial for a business owner to better educate themselves on these issues. Be kind and accommodating to those with physical and developmental impairments, but never baby them. They are adults, and should be treated as such.

Make Your Location Accessible

When you have to push someone around in a wheelchair, it becomes painfully obvious how many businesses, especially those in the service industry, lack basic structural accessibility accommodations. If you want to better serve people with disabilities, make sure to install structural accommodations, like ramps, handrails, accessible doors and elevators. These basic handicap accessibility accommodations for business can greatly improve your ability to serve and employ individuals with disabilities.

Ask Before Helping

People obviously have the best intentions when providing assistance to people with special needs. However, these well-intentioned folks often do not anticipate the fact that many individuals with disabilities do not want assistance they did not request. It can be demeaning when someone assumes you cannot do something for yourself. If you truly want to better interact with people with disabilities for business purposes, of course you can help them out when it seems needed, but always be sure to ask before doing so.

Get Involved In The Community

As a business owner, you know the value of being active in your community. There is also much value in getting to know the community programs, schools and organizations that service people with disabilities. Sponsoring a local program for individuals with special needs, visiting a school for students who are deaf or hard of hearing or partnering with a nonprofit organization that specializes in job placement for people with disabilities are all great community service ideas to help you start out. This will also benefit business. More people with disabilities and relatives of those with special needs will frequent your business knowing that handicap accessibility and dedication to the disabled community are a priority.

There are many opportunities for business owners to improve their ability to serve the special needs community. This post provides a great starting point for business owners looking to better serve individuals with disabilities, whether they suffer from physical impairments or intellectual disabilities. Remember the tips mentioned above when hiring people with disabilities or interacting with customers with special needs.

Photo from http://www.themindfulword.org/2016/social-role-valorization-the-power-of-volunteering-for-people-with-disabilities/

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