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Tips and Resources for Everyone

Etiquette Tips

  • Be open-minded. Some disabilities are hidden or invisible. Don’t make assumptions about the person or the disability.
  • Ask before you offer assistance to someone and wait for their instructions.
  • When talking to a person with a sign language interpreter or other support provider, address the person directly.
  • Do not pet or interact with a service animal. Service animals are working. Petting or interacting with them distracts the animal and interferes with their duties.
  • Be considerate of the extra time it might take a person with a disability to respond to a question or get things done. Don't talk for the person who has difficulty speaking, but give help when needed.
  • Use person first language such as people with disabilities or an individual with autism. Avoid terms such as handicapped or autistic.
  • Involve people with disabilities in decision making. They are the best judge of what they can or cannot do.
  • Relax and ask questions when you're unsure of what to do.

Examples of People First Language

Often people with disabilities prefer that you focus on their abilities, not their disabilities. Instead of emphasizing the disability first as a label for the person, emphasize the person first. Here are some examples of people first language.



They are persons with disabilities

They are handicapped/disabled

He has an intellectual disability

He is mentally retarded

She has autism

She is autistic

He has Down syndrome

He is Down's

She has a learning disability

She is learning disabled

He has a physical disability

He is crippled

She is a person with epilepsy

She is epileptic

He has a mental health disability

He's mentally ill

She has cerebral palsy

She's spastic

He is an individual with a disability

He suffers from…

They are living with HIV/AIDS. They have polio.

They are victims of AIDS/ Victim of polio (etc.)

She uses a wheelchair

She is wheelchair bound

Guidance for the Campus Community

I have a student with a disability in my class. What do I need to do?

Protect the student's confidentiality by discussing accommodations in a private setting. Request to see students' Determination of Accommodations document to verify that they are registered with our office. Review the individualized accommodations listed. If you have any questions about the accommodations or about forms the student asks you to complete, contact Accessibility Services. For more information about teaching students with disabilities, please refer to our Faculty pages.

There is a student in my class that I suspect might have a disability. What should I do?

If you think a student may have an unreported or undiagnosed disability and could benefit from our services, use your judgment in referring the student to Accessibility Services. If a student is nervous, it may be helpful to walk the student to our office. The student can meet with one of our disability counselors to discuss the possible presence of a disability, the need for extra support, accommodations, or additional referrals. Occasionally a student will end up gaining disability verification and registering with our office to receive appropriate disability services. Other times, students are referred to health, counseling, tutoring, or other services that may be more applicable to their current difficulty.

How do I handle a student in my class who is behaving strangely?

Some behavioral concerns can be attributed to certain disabilities, including psychological, learning, attention-deficit, and neurological conditions. However, federal law does not excuse inappropriate behavior, even if it is due to a disability. A student with a disability who is behaving strangely should be treated in the same manner as any other student and should be given prompt feedback with clear expectations. If the student is registered with us, feel free to contact our office to speak with the student's counselor for assistance with the situation. All CSUEB students must adhere to the Student Conduct Code. Any student violating this code should be reported to Student Judicial Affairs. The University is required to assist a student with a disability to comprehend his or her responsibilities and the consequences of violating the Student Conduct Code, so it is important to involve the disability counselor. As in any situation, if you feel that the student may pose a threat to others or self, contact the University Police Department by dialing 911 from a campus phone or 510-885-3791 from a cell phone.

I myself have a disability and need to request accommodations. Can Accessibility Services assist me?

Accessibility Services is responsible for determining and coordinating accommodations for enrolled CSUEB students who have verified disabilities. All disability-related matters regarding employees of the University should be directed to Jill Millican in Risk Management at 510-885-4227.

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