National Service and Inclusion Project

Inclusion: The active engagement of people with disabilities as service members in all levels of national and community service
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Home : FAQ : Etiquette :

General Etiquette Tips

Relax. Be yourself. Take some time to know what is legal and appropriate, but stay focused on providing people with equal opportunities to serve.

During conversations, focus on the individual and the issues at hand.

Always direct communication to the individual with the disability when they are accompanied by an assistant or interpreter. Do not seek a response from or refer to an assistant or interpreter for an answer.

Do not make assumptions about what anyone can and cannot do. It is appropriate to ask if and what assistance is needed. Respectfully offer your assistance if it is requested. Wait until the offer is accepted. If your offer is accepted, then listen to and follow the person's instructions.

Accept your humanness. It is okay to make mistakes. When mistakes are made: Apologize, correct the problem, learn from the mistake, and move on.

Respect people's privacy. Let people share information about their disability if and when they feel comfortable doing so. They are not responsible for educating the public by revealing their life experiences.

Do not expect any less or more of people with disabilities.

Assume nothing except that the person with the disability is the best expert about what they need and what they can and cannot do. If you have concerns, talk to the person about them.



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©The National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP) is a training and technical assistance provider on disability inclusion. NSIP partners with the Association on University Centers on Disability, National Council on Independent Living, Association on Higher Education and Disability and National Down Syndrome Congress to build connections between disability organizations and all CNCS grantees, including national directs, to increase the participation of people with disabilities in national service.