National Disability Independence Day
National Disability Independence Day
National Disability Independence Day is a day to honor the values of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was established 33 years ago. ADA serves to protect people with disabilities and is built on four pillars of integration: full participation in the community, independent living, equality of opportunity, and economic self-sufficiency. It is up to each of us to ensure inclusion, acceptance, and equality for each and every individual, each and every day.
Just Like You and Me: Creating a Culture of Integration and Respect
Like any other relationship, commonalities far outweigh our self-perceived differences. Sometimes, those without disabilities struggle to relate to those who have disabilities, however, people with disabilities are individuals just like you and me. Their disability is just one of many characteristics that make them uniquely who they are and they have the same desire as any of us do: to be treated with dignity and respect.
Abilities: When interacting with a person with any disability, focus on their abilities, not their disabilities. We are all unique individuals who have a wealth of personal knowledge, individual skills, talents, interests, and experiences that add tremendous diversity, resourcefulness, and creative energy to society. In some cases, people with disabilities may do things differently than those who do not, however, we all strive to achieve meaningful inclusion, a sense of community, and genuine belonging.
Interactions: When interacting with people with disabilities, be your genuine self. Talk directly with them, not to their companions, aides, or interpreters should they have that support present. When interacting with someone who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing, remember that some individuals may be able to hear, others may be able to lip read, while others prefer to use sign language or assistive technology.
Communication: Preference for communication is important. When interacting with someone who is blind or visually impaired, always introduce yourself and share when you are leaving. When offering support or guidance to someone visually impaired or someone in a wheelchair, avoid pushing, pulling, or other types of unintended force. Align yourself at eye level when talking with someone in a wheelchair. If a disabled person uses a guide dog, remember – it is not a pet. The dog is working to ensure the owner’s safety.
Patience: Engaging with someone with a cognitive disability may require you to speak using unambiguous language and sentences. Be patient and give them time to communicate with you. When interacting with someone with a speech impairment, allow them as much time as they need to communicate. Be patient, respectful, and avoid finishing their sentences as you would want that same courtesy and respect yourself.
Assistance: Ask before giving unsolicited assistance. Never assume that because a person has a disability, they are in need. People with disabilities may not necessarily want or need guidance from another person.
Under Title III of the (ADA), banks are considered “places of public accommodation” and have a responsibility to ensure buildings, goods, and services are fully accessible and without barriers to people with disabilities. Banks also have obligations to make reasonable modifications to policies and practices so that people with disabilities have equality of opportunity when using banking services.
Pentucket Bank is committed to providing the same resources, access, and support to all customers and our communities by demonstrating respect for people with disabilities through our behavior, interactions, and service. Please join Pentucket Bank as we celebrate National Disability Independence Day and 33 years of honoring Americans with disabilities.
Content for this blog was provided by Opportunity Works. Learn more about Opportunity Works by visiting their website: Click Here.