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Disability Etiquette

Disability etiquette encourages goodwill and respect among all individuals. It helps make society more inclusive for everyone.

Mobility Disability

People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices have different disabilities and varying abilities.  Some can use their arms and hands.  Some can get out of their wheelchairs and even walk for short distances.

People who use wheelchairs are individuals, not equipment.  Do not lean on someone who uses a wheelchair to shake another person's hand or ask a wheelchair user to hold coats.  Setting your drink on the desktop attached to someone's wheelchair is a definite no-no.



  • People like to be at eye level with other people.  It is respectful to place yourself at their eye level when talking at length to a person who uses a wheelchair or crutches.  For example, when talking to a person using a wheelchair, grab your own chair and sit at their level.  If that is not possible, stand at a slight distance, so that the individual is not straining her neck to make eye contact with you.
  • A mobility device is part of a person's personal space.  Do not lean or hand onto a person's device.
  • People will let you know if they want a door opened or a chair pulled out.
  • Clearly mark accessible entrances and routes.  Keep them unlocked and free from barriers.
  • When giving directions, consider the person's limitations and possible barriers.  Ensure that all employees can answer questions about the most accessible way around the building and grounds, including the location of elevators.
  • Make sure all items on tables and counters are within reach.
  • Tables and counters should be about 28" to 34" to be reachable from a wheelchair.
  • People who use canes or crutches need their arms to balance themselves, so never grab them.  People who have limited mobility may lean on a door for support as they open it.  Pushing the door open from behind or unexpectedly opening the door may cause them to fall.  Even pulling out or pushing in a chair may present a problem.  Always ask before offering help.
  • If you offer a seat to a person who has limited mobility, keep in mind that chairs with arms or with higher seats are easier for some people to use.
  • Falls are a big problem for people who have limited mobility.  Be sure to set out adequate warning signs after washing floors.  Also, put out mats on rainy or snowy days to keep the floors as dry as possible.
  • People who do not have a visible disability may have needs related to their mobility.  For example, a person with a respiratory or heart condition may have trouble walking long distances or walking quickly.  Be sure that your library or place of employment has benches for people to sit and rest on.
  • Some people have limited use of their hands, wrists, or arms.  Be prepared to offer assistance with reaching, grasping, or lifting objects, opening doors and display cases, and operating equipment.


ACCESS Sharks Program Volunteer at North Campus Library

Keyandra Summerville

Keyandra Summerville has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Business Supervision and Management from Miami Dade College, 2022.  She loves animals and plants.  In addition to volunteering at the MDC North Campus Library, she has also volunteered at the Humane Society of Greater Miami and at the Urban Paradise Nursery.