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Northeast Times | October 5, 2022

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Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities

Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities

Tips for Successful Communication with People with Disabilities

As COVID-19 testing facilities expand throughout the state, it is vital employees have the resources to successfully communicate with people with disabilities. The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) have developed a handout providing tips on successful communication with people with disabilities. While it is targeted toward drive up testing facilities and medical professionals, the handout can easily be adapted for other situations. 

The two-page handout provides tips to help staff at COVID-19 testing centers and other medical facilities communicate effectively with people with disabilities. Emergency situations are often anxiety-provoking, and this guide aims to help eliminate unnecessary stress by helping testing facility employees understand how to communicate with and support people with disabilities. 

General Tips for Successful Communication

There are many types of disabilities—some visible, some invisible—and each individual person has their own unique needs and preferences. The rule of thumb for any situation is to ask a person how you can support them. For example, medical professionals are encouraged to:

  • keep directions clear and simple;
  • be patient and repeat instructions or questions;
  • allow people time to speak and ask for clarification;
  • speak with the person first rather than a companion or attendant; and
  • maintain a calm and friendly tone.

The handout also includes tips for supporting and communicating with people with specific types of disabilities, such as:

  • people with intellectual disabilities and autism;
  • people who are deaf or hard of hearing;
  • people who have a vision impairment or are blind; and
  • more.

People with disabilities and others who will receive COVID-19 tests can also download the handout and take it with them to share with the medical professionals who administer their tests. Download the handout in English and Spanish by clicking the images below.