Disability Etiquette. 2
Be Yourself. 2
Meeting Someone. 3
Interacting with People with Specific Disabilities. 4
People with Mobility Disabilities. 4
People with Speech Disabilities. 4
People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 4
People with Visual Disabilities. 5
People with Invisible Disabilities. 5
Does my department have to change its policy or programs to accommodate people with disabilities? 6
What are the things I should consider when planning a meeting?. 6
What if a member of the public wants to file a grievance?. 7
What resources can I use to communicate effectively with people with disabilities?. 7
Oral/Aural Communication. 8
Qualified Interpreters. 8
Qualified Note Takers. 9
Assistive Listening Systems. 9
Computer Aided Real Time Captioning (CART). 10
Text Telephones (TTY) or Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD). 10
California Relay Service (CRS). 10
Video Relay Services (VRS). 11
Written Communication. 12
Large Print 12
Audiotape or Audio CD.. 12
Simplified Documents. 12
Where can I find more information?. 13
Local Agencies Serving People with Disabilities: 13
Other Informational Sources. 14
This resource list is intended to help the City of Fresno provide excellent customer service to people with disabilities. 2010 Census' figures estimated that 60,209, or 12.3%, of the population of the City of Fresno are people with disabilities. This list includes information to help you meet, communicate and serve people with disabilities in the course of your work with the City of Fresno. This resource list includes examples and suggestions for City of Fresno employees to help people with disabilities to fully participate in programs, services, and activities.
The City of Fresno is subject to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a “public entity” and must not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs, or activities. If you want to learn more about the City’s obligations under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act you can contact, Shannon M. Mulhall, ADA Coordinator, at 621-8716 or Shannon.Mulhall@fresno.gov. You can also visit the US Department of Justice's ADA information site: www.ada.gov.
People with disabilities prefer that you focus on their abilities, not their disabilities. Always emphasize the person first. Avoid the terms “handicapped,” “physically challenged,” and other similar references.
The preferred usage is “people with disabilities” or “persons with disabilities.” The term “disabled people,” although used, may be offensive because this term defines people as disabled first and people second.
Language is powerful, but attitudes and behaviors are the most difficult barriers for people with disabilities to overcome. Treat the person as an individual rather than as a disability.
Treat people with disabilities with the same respect and consideration that you have for everyone else. Engage in small talk, the way you would with anyone. Use your usual voice when extending a verbal welcome. Do not raise your voice unless requested. As in any new situation, everyone will be more comfortable if you relax.
When you meet someone, extend your hand to shake if that is what you usually do. A person who cannot shake hands will let you know. He or she will appreciate being treated as you would anyone else. If you are meeting a blind person, identify yourself. If you have met before, remind him of the context; he won't have the visual clues to jog his memory.
Do not automatically give assistance; ask first if the person wants help and do not be offended if someone refuses your offer of assistance. Ask yourself, “Would I want help in a similar situation?” It is the person’s choice to be as independent as they can be. Talk directly to the person, not to an aide, friend, or interpreter. If the person has a speech disability, listen carefully and patiently. Ask him to repeat if you do not understand. If the person does not understand you when you speak, try again. Do not let him think your communication with him is not worthwhile to you.
Do not leave a person with a disability out of a conversation or activity because you feel uncomfortable or fear that they will feel uncomfortable. Include him as you would anyone else. They know what they can and want to do; let it be their decision whether or not to participate. If the person is deaf or hard of hearing, follow his lead; use gestures or write. If the person uses a wheelchair, sit and converse at his level.
Be sensitive about the setting. A noisy or dark environment, or people talking simultaneously, might make it difficult for people with a vision, speech, or hearing disability to participate in a conversation. Be aware of clear paths of travel for people who use wheelchairs or are blind. Describe going-on and surroundings (especially obstacles) to blind person. A person with chemical sensitivity may have a reaction to smoke, perfume, cleaning products, or other forms of toxins in the environment.
Do not pet guide dogs, and do not touch a person with a disability unless there is a good reason (such as shaking hands in greeting or if the person has requested assistance). However, you may gently touch a deaf person to get his attention. Never push a person's wheelchair without his or her permission. Please do not recoil if you meet a person with AIDS; shake his hand as you would anyone. You cannot get AIDS by touching.
Mobility disabilities range from lower body disabilities, which may require use of canes, walkers, or wheelchairs, to upper body disabilities, which may result in limited or no use of the hands.
Remember to talk directly to the person, not to an aide, and do not assume a companion is an aide. When having an extended conversation with someone in a wheelchair or scooter, talk to the person at eye-level by sitting or crouching down to his or her approximate. It is okay to invite a person in a wheelchair to “go for a walk.” Never touch or lean on a person’s wheelchair unless you have permission—it is that person’s personal space. Give a push only when asked. Enable people who use crutches, canes, walkers, wheelchairs, or scooters to keep their mobility aids within reach, unless they request otherwise.
Examples of accommodations for people with mobility disabilities include hosting events in accessible locations, providing adjustable tables, and ensuring that equipment and other items are located within reach.
Some disabilities affect the ability to speak. Computer-based speech output systems provide an alternative voice for some people with cannot speak.
Listen patiently and carefully. Address persons with speech disabilities as you would anyone else in the same situation. Do not complete sentences for a person with a speech disability unless he specifically asks you for help. Do not pretend you understand what they say, just to be polite.
Do not let other people interrupt a person with a speech disability simply because they talk louder. If you do not understand what is said to you, ask the person to repeat it or to say it a different way. Keep good eye contact. If a person with a speech disability is using a trained speech interpreter, speak to and keep eye contact with the person, not the person interpreting what’s being said. If the person uses an amplifier or other device, do not touch it, as that is part of his or her personal space.
Examples of accommodations for people with mobility disabilities include taking more time for communication and providing or accepting information in writing or via email.
Individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing may use some combination of lip-reading, sign language, and amplification to communicate.
If you need to attract the attention of a person who is Deaf or hard of hearing, you may touch them lightly on the shoulder or arm. When you speak to people who rely on lip reading and amplification, you should face them so that they can see your lips. Slow your rate of speech, speak your words clearly, and increase your volume, if requested. Shouting usually does not help. Not all people with hearing loss can read lips. For those people, other forms of communication may be necessary. Some may offer to write messages back and forth. For some, American Sign Language (ASL) is their first language and they may require a sign language interpreter to understand proceedings or join in a conversation. With people who use sign language interpreters, speak to them, not to their interpreters.
Examples of accommodations for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing include the provision of interpreters, sound amplification systems, note takers, visual aids, and the use of electronic mail for communication.
Visual disabilities may range on a spectrum from total blindness to low vision. People with low vision may have some usable sight however standard written materials may be too small to read and objects may appear blurry
When working with a person with a visual disability be descriptive. Describe goings-on and surroundings, especially obstacles, to the person. You may need to help orient people with visual disabilities and let them know what is coming up. Be the assistant, not the director. If you are asked for assistance, let a blind person hold your arm as a guide. If they are walking, tell them when they have to step up or step down; let them know if the door is to their right or left; and warn them of possible hazards. Be the assistant, not the director; let a blind person hold your arm and follow you.
You do not have to speak loudly to people with visual disabilities. Most of them can hear just fine. When appropriate, offer to read written information for a person with a visual disability. It is okay to ask blind people if they “see what you mean.” If you are meeting a blind person, identify yourself. If you have met before, remind the person of the context because he or she won’t have the visual cues to jog the memory.
Examples of accommodations for people with visual disabilities include providing large print text or Braille documents, providing printed materials recorded on audiotape or CD, and ensuring that electronic PDF documents are compatible with screen reader technology.
Not all disabilities are apparent. Because a person does not use a wheelchair, have hearing aids, or use a cane does not mean that they do not have a disability.
A person may have difficulty following a conversation, may not respond when you call or wave, or may say or do something that seems inappropriate. The person may have an invisible disability such as an autism spectrum disorder, seizure disorder, learning disability, brain injury, developmental disability, mental illness, or a health condition. These are just a few of the many different types of invisible disabilities. Try to be open-minded and avoid making assumptions about the person or the disability.
Do not assume the person is not listening merely because you are not getting any verbal or visual feedback. Instead, ask whether they understand or agree. When interacting with a person with an invisible disability, remain calm, lower your energy, and understand that they may be experiencing over sensitization. Keep instructions simple and provide them one at a time.
Examples of accommodations for people who have invisible disabilities include providing a quiet, low stimulus location, audio taped or written instructions, and extra time to complete tasks.
Above Information adapted from the following sources:
Access Resources: http://www.mediate.com/accessresources
University of Washington: http://www.washington.edu/doit/CareerN/strat_work.html
Judicial Council of California Access and Fairness Advisory Committee: www.courts.ca.gov/documents/access-fairness-etiquette-2009.pdf
Does my department have to change its policy or programs to accommodate people with disabilities?
The City of Fresno will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all of its programs, services, and activities. For example, individuals with service animals are welcomed in the City's offices, even where pets are generally prohibited.
The City does not have to make any modifications that would change the nature of the program, or be an undue administrative or financial burden.
What are the things I should consider when planning a meeting?
Public meetings must be accessible to people with disabilities. All conference rooms located within City Hall are accessible. As noted above, room 4017 and the City Council Chambers have assistive listening systems that can be made available upon request. The assistive listening system in room 4017 and accompanying microphones must be set up in advance with the Communications Division of the Information Services Department (ISD).
If a department located outside of City Hall is holding a meeting that is open to the public, the meeting space should be evaluated for the following standards of accessibility:
Accessible parking located on-site
Facility located along a transit route
Clear path of travel (accessible from the sidewalk and the nearest transit route)
Accessible restroom facility
Accessible drinking fountain
Each department located outside of City Hall should develop and maintain a list of accessible meeting spaces.
All public notices announcing meetings and events need to identify a department or person designated to respond to requests for accommodation, along with the telephone number to call. The notices must also include information on the accessibility of the meeting location and the availability of auxiliary aids and services. An example of a public notice is provided below:
[Site] is accessible to persons using wheelchairs and others with disabilities. Materials in large print, other alternative formats, qualified sign language interpreters and other accommodations will be made available upon request. Please contact [Name, Phone, Email]. Providing five days advanced notice will help to help ensure availability.
In order to assist the City’s efforts to accommodate persons with severe allergies, environmental illness, multiple chemical sensitivity or related disabilities, attendees at public meetings are reminded that other attendees may be sensitive to various chemical based scented products. Please help the City to accommodate these individuals.
Web accessibility is the application of design principles to make web sites, web applications, and web content usable by persons with disabilities who may be using assistive technologies to access the site. Because services and information are delivered via the web, it is critical that all people are able to access the information, whether they have disabilities or not. Web accessibility should be viewed as a necessity and an investment. Accessible web content helps expedite the delivery of information and services, and is crucial to providing equal opportunities for the public.
An accessible web site is one that can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities. Some specific characteristics of an accessible site include: clear and logical navigation; easy to read text and understandable links; text descriptions of essential visual elements; transcripts or captions for audio, video, and multimedia content; and interoperability with assistive technology which may be used to render the web content in a usable format.
Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format that preserves most attributes (including color, formatting, and graphics) of a source document no matter which application, platform, and hardware type was originally used to create it. Accessible PDFs are PDF documents created so that they are not read solely as an image by screen readers. This is usually achieved through the use of tags, or a structured, textual representation of the PDF that is presented to screen readers but have no visible effect on the PDF file. Documents containing text posted on the City of Fresno website in PDF will, to the extent possible, be accessible PDFs or in another alternate accessible format.
For more information about how to make your City of Fresno web content accessible, contact ADA Coordinator Shannon M. Mulhall at 559-621-8716 or Shannon.Mulhall@fresno.gov.
What if a member of the public wants to file a grievance?
Grievances should be directed to the ADA Coordinator’s office. This Grievance Procedure is established to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It may be used by anyone who wishes to file a complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of services, activities, programs, or benefits by the City of Fresno. The City of Fresno’s Personnel Policy governs employment-related complaints of disability discrimination.
The grievance procedure is available here: http://www.fresno.gov/Government/DisabilityAdvisoryCommission/ADAGrievance.htm
There are many resources to help you communicate effectively with people with disabilities. Sometimes these resources are called “auxiliary aids and services." Title II of the ADA requires government entities to make appropriate auxiliary aids and services available to ensure effective communication. You also must make information about the location of accessible services, activities, and facilities available in a format that is accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing and those who are blind or have low vision.
Generally, the requirement to provide an auxiliary aid or service is triggered when a person with a disability requests it. The City must give primary consideration to the type of aid or service requested. Every disability is unique. The best way to determine which aid or service is appropriate an individual is to ask him or her.
Speaking, listening, reading, and writing are all common ways of communicating. When these communications involve a person with a disability, an auxiliary aid or service may be required for communication to be effective. The type of aid or service necessary depends on the length and complexity of the communication as well as the format.
For brief or simple face-to-face exchanges, very basic aids are usually appropriate. For example, exchanging written notes may be effective when a deaf person asks for a copy of a form at a service desk.
For more complex or lengthy exchanges, more advanced aids and services are required. Consider how important the communication is, how many people are involved, the length of the communication anticipated, and the context.
Examples of instances where more advanced aids and services are necessary include meetings, hearings, interviews, training and counseling sessions, and court proceedings. In these types of situations where someone involved has a disability that affects communication, auxiliary aids and services such as qualified interpreters, computer-aided real-time transcription (CART), open and closed captioning, video relay, assistive listening devices, and computer terminals may be required. Written transcripts also may be appropriate in pre-scripted situations such as speeches.
Below is a list of some resources to help City departments can better communicate and serve people with disabilities. It is a living document. Inclusion in this resource list does not constitute endorsement by the City of Fresno, nor does omission imply non-endorsement. Our goal is to provide you with information on some key resources available. Please let the ADA Coordinator’s Office know if you’re aware of a useful resource missing from this list, or need help in finding other services.
It takes time to secure qualified sign language interpreters, so it is best to schedule interpreters as soon as possible. One local resource for interpreting services, including American Sign Language and oral interpreters is the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center, Inc.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center, Inc.
Interpreting Services of Central California
5340 N. Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710
(559) 225-3323 Voice (559) 225-0415 TTY
Interpreting Services of Central California: (559) 225-3382 (V)
(559) 334-5001 (TTY)
Fax: (559) 221-8224 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After Hours Emergency: 559-375-0902
Requesting An Interpreter:
Requests for interpreting services should be directed to Interpreting Services of Central California one to two weeks prior to the assignment, if possible. Please be prepared to provide the following information:
Time, date, and location of the assignment
Names of the persons involved both deaf and hearing
Name and phone number of a contact person
Nature of the assignment (legal, medical, interview, etc.)
Name and address of the agency/person responsible for payment
For assignments lasting two hours or more, two interpreters may be scheduled depending on the situation.
Individuals with a variety of disabilities may need someone to take notes for them in order to have access to information disseminated orally. You may wish to have one of your administrative staff members take notes, as long as they have the requisite understanding and skills to take effective notes (e.g. if you are using technical language, the note taker must be qualified to understand and record that content).
Three City of Fresno facilities have assistive listening systems that could assist participants in meetings or trainings better hear the presentations.
City Hall Room 4017
This is the largest conference room in City Hall. It seats 50 people and has an induction loop that can be set up in advance to help people with hearing loss counter the effects of background noise. Hearing aide users who have “T” or telephone coils can switch them on and receive signals directly to their hearing aide. Those without “T” coil equipped hearing aids can use a receiver. The induction loop and accompanying microphones must be set up in advance with the Communications Division of the Information Services Department (ISD).
City Council Chambers
The City Council Chambers have an FM assistive listening system. FM Systems work like a miniature radio station. The transmitter has a microphone and sends FM waves to a receiver. The public address system must be on for the system to work. The FM receivers are available in the City Clerk’s office.
The Saroyan Theater has an infrared system. This system uses invisible beams of light (this is the same technology used by your remote control). Infrared light waves are transmitted by an array of LEDs that are located on a panel. The receivers have a detector that senses the infrared light and converts the signal to sound. The receivers are available from ushers at events.
In addition, the ADA Coordinator’s Office has a portable FM Assistive Listening system. This system can be requested for use in City activities, including small meetings. For more information about this, please contact the ADA Coordinator’s Office at (559)621-8716.
Many people who are deaf or hard of hearing are not trained in either sign language or lip reading. CART is a service in which an operator types what is said into a computer that displays the typed words on a screen. Often the operator is a trained court reporter. Below is one possible vendor that provides this service.
155 East Shaw Avenue, Suite 201, Fresno, California 93710
Phone 559.222.9922 / Fax 559.222.7922
For additional providers outside the area, contact the ADA Coordinator's Office.
A TTY is a small telecommunications device with a keyboard for typing and a screen for reading conversations. A TTY is often used by people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled to communicate over the telephone by typing messages. The City of Fresno has three TTY machines. They are located in the ADA Coordinator’s Office, the FAX office at the Manchester Transit Center and the Fresno Police Department headquarters. Because of the prevalence of email and video relay services, TTYs are being used less often. If you receive a large number of calls from people with disabilities or need to communicate quickly or in emergency situations, you may need to obtain a TTY. If your department requires a TTY machine, a 10C request must be submitted to the Communications Division of the Information Services Department (ISD) to have the TTY line installed and a request for a TTY machine must be submitted to Purchasing.
CRS provides specially-trained operators to relay telephone conversations back and forth between people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled and all those they wish to communicate with by telephone. Both TTY and voice callers may make and/or receive calls through CRS. CRS callers can communicate in English or Spanish.
To make a CRS call from your voice phone to a person who uses a TTY:
Dial 711 to reach a voice relay operator.
Give the relay operator the area code and TTY number you wish to call.
The operator will voice what the TTY user says to you and type to the other party what you say. The conversation can go back and forth as long as you wish. You will need to talk slower than usual because everything you say is being typed. There are no charges for using the relay service.
VOICE CARRY OVER Relay (VCO) is for people who are deaf or hard of hearing but who wish to speak through the telephone receiver directly to and be heard by the other party. The relay operator types what is said by the other party and the VCO user reads it on his or her TTY. The conversation continues back and forth this way until both parties conclude the call.
For calls to a VCO user dial 711.
Ask the Relay Operator for VCO Relay.
Give the Relay Operator the area code and phone number you wish to call.
HEARING CARRY OVER Relay (HCO) is for people who can hear but who have difficulty speaking clearly but wish to hear the other party directly. The HCO user types on a TTY what he or she wishes to say and this is spoken by the relay operator to the other party. The conversation continues back and forth this way until both parties conclude the call.
For calls to an HCO-user dial 711.
Ask the Relay Operator for an HCO call.
Give the area code and phone number you wish to call.
SPEECH TO SPEECH RELAY service makes it possible for people who can hear but who have a speech disability to carry on a telephone conversation with anyone they might wish to communicate. Some STS users communicate with a voice synthesizer or voice enhancer device. As needed, a specially trained STS Relay Operator re-voices what is being said by the STS user. The STS user hears the other party's voice directly. The conversation continues back and forth this way until both parties conclude the call. No special telephone equipment is required.
For Speech to Speech Relay Service dial 711.
Give the Relay Operator the area code and phone number you wish to call.
Either party can tell the Relay Operator how active to be in re-voicing .
VRS allows persons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing who use video phones to communicate through the telephone system with hearing persons with the assistance of a qualified sign language interpreter. The interpreter relays the conversation back and forth between the parties -- in sign language with the VRS user, and by voice with the called party. No typing or text is involved. A voice telephone user who calls a videophone number will be automatically connected through the VRS services. VRS is free to the caller; VRS providers are compensated for their costs from the Interstate Telecommunication Relay Service Fund, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversees.
VRS allows those persons whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate in ASL, instead of having to type what they want to say. Because consumers using VRS communicate in sign language, they are able to more fully express themselves through facial expressions and body language, which cannot be expressed in text.
A VRS call flows back and forth just like a telephone conversation between two hearing persons. For example, the parties can interrupt each other, which they cannot do with a CRS call using a TTY, where the parties have to take turns communicating with the communications assistant.
Because the conversation flows more naturally back and forth between the parties, the conversation can take place much more quickly than with text-based relay services. As a result, the same conversation is much shorter through VRS than it would be through other forms of text-based telecommunications relay services.
Video Relay Service calls may be made between ASL users and hearing persons speaking either English or Spanish.
A local resource for transcribing documents to Braille is:
Valley Center for the Blind
2491 W. Shaw Ave Suite 124
Fresno, CA 93711
Telephone: (559) 222-4447
Fax: (559) 222-4844
For additional providers outside the area, contact the ADA Coordinator's Office.
The standard font size for large print is 14 point. The best fonts to use for large print are Arial and Tahoma. Documents requested in large print can be reformatted using 14-point font. Occasionally a low-vision person may request a font size of 16 or larger. Central Printing can enlarge documents if your department cannot accommodate this request internally. Enlarged documents should not be on paper any larger than ledger size.
There are two options if a request is made for a document to be transferred onto audiotape or audio CD. The first option is to have a qualified staff member (one who speaks slowly and possesses clear diction) record the document on a quality recorder. This is the simplest and least expensive method for accommodating this request.
If your department does not have the means to record the audiotape or audio CD, Maximus Media Inc., a local recording studio, will provide the service.
Maximus Media Inc.
2727 N Grove Industrial Drive
Fresno, CA 93727
Persons with cognitive, developmental, or learning disabilities may request documents in simplified language.
If you have a question about the City of Fresno responsibilities under Title II of the ADA, please contact the City ADA Coordinator:
Shannon M. Mulhall
Fresno City Hall
2600 Fresno Street Second Floor
Fresno, CA 93721-3600
Would you like to add your organization to the list? Email Shannon.Mulhall@fresno.gov
California Telephone Access Program
7525 N. Cedar Suite 115
Fresno, CA 93720
Central Valley Regional Center
4615 N. Marty
Fresno, CA 93722-4186
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Service Center, Inc
5340 N. Fresno St
Fresno, CA 93710
Department of Rehabilitation
2550 Mariposa Mall, Room 2000
Fresno, CA 93721
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
2300 Tulare Street Suite 215
Fresno, CA 93721
Exceptional Parents Unlimited
4440 N. First St
Fresno, CA 93726
Fresno Madera Area Agency on Aging
3837 N. Clark St
Fresno, CA 93726
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Fresno
7545 North Del Mar #105
Fresno, CA 93711
Resources for Independence, Central Valley
3008 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93703
United Learning Foundation
Valley Center for the Blind
2491 West Shaw Avenue Ste 124
Veterans Central CA Health Care System
Department of Veterans Affairs
2615 E. Clinton Ave
Fresno, CA 93703-2223
U.S. Department of Justice
Disability Rights Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530
Pacific ADA Center
555 12th Street, Suite 1030
Oakland, CA 94607-4046
The Federal Access Board
1331 F Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004-1111
Division of the State Architect
Universal Design Program
1102 Q Street, Suite 5100
Sacramento, CA 95814