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Language Disorders

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Proper Manners Concerning People with Language Disorders

When taking public transportation

Airports, taxi stands, bus terminals, and other such crowded public transportation areas are less than ideal places for talking to people with language disorders. For people with difficulty communicating, the noises in these places can obscure important points and meanings. Also, drivers and other passengers are often in a hurry, making it difficult for people with language disorders to ask them to repeat what they said. Delays, cancellations, and other such changes often cause great difficulty for people with language disorders.

Drivers may take a few additional steps to ensure that communication-impaired people receive the services they need. First, listen to these passengers carefully. If there is any misunderstanding, keep repeating the same messages or instructions. Speak to these passengers as slowly and clearly as possible, giving them enough time to understand. If possible, write down important instructions, such as the numbers of exit gates or departure times.

At a restaurant

If you work at a restaurant and learn that a customer has a language disorder, guide them to their seat yourself instead of calling outtheir name or number. If possible, provide a table in a quiet area far from the kitchen. Also, if possible, seat them in a well-lit area so that they may communicate easily with their companions in sign or written language. Before speaking to the guest, gettheir attention first and speak face to face so that they may read your lips.

Receiving orders
In order to help a customer with a language disorder, use a menu that lists—and preferably shows the images of—all the items available to order. Listen carefully to the customer’s order and repeat it to ensure that you have understood it correctly. If necessary, have the customer write down their order. If they point at an item on the menu, read it back to them to make sure it is the item they have chosen. Unless otherwise requested, do not ask a non-disabled customer sitting at the same table to order for the customer with a language disorder instead, anddo not assume that the non-disabled guest will pay the bill.

At a retail store

If you work at a retail store and receive a customerwith a language disorder, first confirm thatthe customer is disabled and attempt to identify their service needs. When talking to a customer with a language disorder, make sure you remain facetoface. While talking, do notattempt to walk or engage in other activities. When the customer is ready to pay, either write down the price and other important messages or have the receipt ready. If you do not understand what they say, have them repeat it or write it down.

If the customer starts writing things down, ask them which they prefer-reading lips or communicating in written form. However, trying to explain everything that the customer may need will be time-consuming and exhausting for both of you. Therefore, the customer may prefer to keep shopping on their own, which you should respect.

Communication (using body language, facial expressions, and other non-verbal means)

Active listening
A great number of people with language disorders prefer to communicate verbally rather than using other non-verbal or written means. Nevertheless, they need to speak and be spoken to at a slower pace than do people without such disorders. Deaf people, in particular, may take longer than others to understand what you are saying. So keep talking with them face to face and pay close attention to what they say. If you are in a noisy area, stand or sit close to them. Also, wait for them to finish their sentences, and speak at a slower pace than you usually do.
If the person is struggling with their speaking, nod or shake your head occasionally to let them know that you are listening attentively. Keep listening until they are finished talking, and try not to guess or complete their sentences for them.

Telephone conversations

Some people with language disorders may avoid talking on the telephone. Refrain from calling them until you find out their exact preferences regarding telephone calls. People with language disorders speak more slowly than others, and their pace of speaking may be even slower on the telephone as they lack access to visual sources of context and information.

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