FAQsLearn the answers
Providing answers to the questions people may have regarding those with disabilities, the services and supports we offer, or any number of other topics is one of the many ways in which we work to promote an inclusive environment. If you cannot find the answer to your questions on our website, feel free to contact us.
Depending on the support you need, there are a number of options available for you. Various resources and programs are available to provide you with assistance regarding money, housing and disability related supports. For medical concerns, your family doctor can provide you with connections to people who can help you. Along with these options, Empower has various programs and services to help you find the support and assurance you need, whether you need to talk to other people who have been in your situation, you need employment support, or you require access to adaptive technology.
That would greatly depend on the needs and desires of your loved one, as well as the nature of their disability. Often, simply letting your loved one know that you are there for support if they need you is the best thing you can do. In the meantime, educating yourself on their disability, disability issues, language, and rights will be a help.
For more information, please review the various sections of our website.
Start by talking to them the same way you would talk to anyone else. Relax, breathe, make eye contact, smile, and ask questions. If you’ve never met the person before, get to know them as you would anyone else; ask their name, where they’re from, and what their interests are. Avoid personal questions about their disability (how they got it, how they do certain tasks, etc.), and get to know them as a whole person first. Always avoid assumptions, and generalized statements about persons with disabilities. If you’re unsure about whether or not you think doing, saying, or asking something is appropriate, just ask the person. Asking is the first step toward knowing.
For more information about disability etiquette, please see our Disability Awareness page.
Words can hold various meanings, some of which can be very negative. As well, the use of these words can affect people differently. One person may not be bothered by a particular disability-related word, while another may find it very offensive due to their own interpretation or personal history. Our language section under Disability Awareness explains this nicely.
First, always ask before helping. Most people won’t mind if you ask them if they need help, even if their answer is “no”. They WILL mind, however, if you butt in and take over without asking. Second, follow their lead and listen when they tell you how they want to be helped. They know their needs better than you do.
Decide whether you want to teach your child that it is rude to point. Some people think it is, others don’t care. After that, quietly answer your child’s questions. Children are naturally curious about the differences in people, and that’s fine. Take it as an opportunity to teach your child about diversity, inclusion, and respectful language.
Whether or not you know a person with a disability is attending, it’s generally a good idea to make sure an event is accessible. That way, no matter who shows up, and no matter what their current situation, they can get in and have a good time.
Basic things to note are: Can everyone get in? Can everyone access everything? Can everyone use the washroom?
Can everyone get in?
Check that the entrance is either level to the ground, or has a ramp. Check that the door is wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter. Also, check to make sure the door is one that everyone can open, or can be safely propped open (automatic is best!).
Can everyone access everything once inside?
Whether it’s tables, food, or information, ensure that everyone has equal access. Make sure tables and chairs are spaced wide enough for people with wheelchairs and walkers. Make sure things aren’t out of reach of someone who can’t stand or is of shorter stature. Present information in various formats (audio, ASL, braille, plain language, etc.) so everyone present can access in the way that works best for them.
Can everyone use the washroom?
This one is very important. Nothing is quite like being out of the house and not being able to find a bathroom when you desperately need one. It’s even more frustrating when there is one right in front of you, and you cannot use it. Make sure a person can get a wheelchair into the bathroom independently. Ensure there is an accessible stall, if the bathroom has stalls. Make sure there are grab bars by the toilet, and that the sink is low enough for a person in a wheelchair to wash their hands.