My good friend Peter Slatin is founder of Slatin Group. They focus on providing education and training to improve communication and interaction with special-needs customers in any business environment. Many of their clients are major hotel chains.
Last Tuesday, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, Peter was the keynote speaker at an NYC & Company Talks: ADA - Beyond Compliance to Service. There was a wonderful handout provided (which I believe Peter is going to add to his website). I’ve typed up the content and wanted to share it with you.
It’s a unique experience with a common thread
People first language
If you’re inspired, don’t say so
Be courteous, not curious
Provide explicit directions
Don't touch person, cane or dog harness
Offer your elbow
Don’t say “over there”
Introduce yourself simply
Announce doors and stairs
Don't say: “never mind”
Don’t lean on or push wheelchair
Make sure spaces and places that claim accessibility are accessible
Make sure that bathroom aids are as specified
Leave room furniture in place
When they are in harness, they are at work
Ask permission to pet or address
Respect owner’s response
Never offer food
In 1990, the company I worked for had the grand opening of a factory outlet mall in the Midwest. We were very excited and I was there representing management. Shortly after the doors opened to a rush of people at 10am, a person in a wheelchair approached me. “The doors are too hard for a person in a wheelchair to open.” I thanked them, said that we hadn’t realized it and would take care of it immediately. We asked the wheelchair bound person to go with one of our engineers to make certain that the right adjustments were made. This was a number of months before the ADA was adopted. It was something I’ve always remembered.