Meeting New Clients
Because people with disabilities make up a diverse group, there is not one set of behaviours or ways of acting that will guide support professionals through all possible interactions. Being sensitive and flexible in communication and expectations is a solid foundation to build upon. A flexible approach to social norms such as eye contact, personal space, tone of voice and conversation topics can increase comfort levels of clients to communicate and feel accepted.
Accepting the client with disability as an equal peer and not a “special person” will always be the best approach to adopt.
Whether clients will want to share their disability status is a personal choice. It will often depend on their personal history with disability and disclosure as well as the timing or context.
To encourage clients to share, it is best if they know the possible benefits to disclosure, such as available supports for their possible succes
All clients with disabilities are faced with a choice between their two conflicting sets of rights:
Right to Privacy
Right to Accommodation (which requires Disclosure)
Knowing whether to disclose disability status or not is a very difficult decision to make. While there are laws and policies in place to encourage inclusion, real life can be very different.
People with disabilities can struggle to navigate disability disclosure, questions about
…to disclose about disability status are not clear.