Some people with mental health disabilities find one method of communication more effective than another. For example, because of their disabilities, one individual may prefer email communication over phone conversations while someone else prefers in person meetings to email. It’s always best to ask the person in question how to most effectively communicate with them.
Where possible, be flexible but also clear about communication-related expectations. For example, if you need to hear from an individual by a certain date, let them know the date and be clear about whether the date is flexible. Offer to write down or email important information when possible.
Always use clear and plain language and ensure that conversations about disability-related needs or accommodations happen in a private place.
Resource: Read one person’s story to learn more about how communication-related accommodations helped them succeed in teacher’s college.
Did You Know?
Mental health disabilities impact people in different ways that can shape when they are most able to retain or share information. When it comes to communication, an individual may have a preferred time of day or day of the week due to their disability.
Ask the person with a mental health disability about their communication preferences. Be clear about communication-related expectations.
Resource: Communication Disabilities Access Canada (CDAC) has a detailed list of Communication Tips. For the tips and more information, please visit the CDAC website.
Resource: Arch Disability Law Centre has developed a primer on disability law that includes some strategies for providing legal services to people with disabilities in Chapter 2. The chapter includes ideas on how to provide services to people with mental health disabilities.