Wendy Sullivan, President of Life Skills, offers tips for interacting with someone who has a developmental disability.
1. Follow the golden rule. Treat your neighbor the way you want to be treated, or in this case, treat your co-worker, patient, friend or acquaintance at the grocery store the way you want to be treated. Everyone deserves the same respect whether or not he/she has a disability.
2. Remember that the person is an adult, and unless you are informed otherwise, can make decisions for him/herself.
3. Don’t use baby talk or talk down to a person with developmental disabilities. Gauge the pace, complexity and vocabulary of your speech according to theirs.
4. Pictures or diagrams can often help someone with developmental disabilities find his/her way around a facility.
5. It can be difficult for someone with developmental disabilities to make quick decisions. Be patient and allow the person to take his/her time.