“How to shake a disabled person’s hand

In Western culture a handshake is an important show of respect and is due to every respectful member of society, even disabled people.

Even if you aren’t sure if someone can shake your hand, making the effort to treat them as you would anyone else is important. so don’t be nervous, just stick your hand out like normal.

If the person says they cannot shake your hand just say “Okay,” and carry on normally.

NO NOT grab their hand.  They have just told you in a polite way they don’t want to participate in the ceremony and touching someone without their permission is never okay.

DO NOT make a joke.

If the person’s reach falls short, close the distance and continue as if nothing is odd.

If the person reaches out with their left hand, switch hands.

If the person’s hand does not make the right shape, gently grip their hand and shake.

If you shake a person’s hand one way and the next time they attempt it differently or now say they can’t, don’t question it.  Disabilities manifest differently due to many circumstances and our needs and abilities change constantly.

Even if you can’t remember these tips or are faced with something I didn’t address remember this one fool proof rule: Don’t be weird.

If you are calm and genuine you will put anyone (disabled or not) at ease and if not, they are a dick and dicks don’t deserve hand shakes.

This piece was first blogged here: http://gimpunk.tumblr.com/post/21040460212/how-to-shake-a-disabled-persons-hand

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