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The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People With Disabilities - DVD & Resource Guide

(Running Time: 26 Minutes)

"The Ten Commandments video is a great way of reaching people who might otherwise not want to sit through a 'diversity presentation'. The people and the stories are very accessible and the point is made without preaching."
- HR Generalist, IBM


If your workforce is going to effectively include people with a wide range of disabilities, their supervisors and coworkers need to be able to communicate effectively with them. They need to overcome their awkwardness and reservations about the disability "factor". The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities, using humor and solid information can be an effective tool for becoming "disability-friendly".


If your company or organization is going to offer a high quality of customer service to your patrons or clients with disabilities, all of your employees need to have a basic level of comfort and understanding about how to effectively communicate with people with various disabilities. The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities is an entertaining and engaging tool for developing that basic level of understanding and skill.


Did you know that...

  • 40% of employed people with disabilities report said that they have encountered job discrimination?

  • 33% of employed people with disabilities report that they have encountered "unfavorable attitudes" toward their disabilities on the job?

  • 22% of employers cite supervisor/co-worker attitudes and stereotypes as a major barrier to employment & advancement of employees with disabilities?

  • 15% of non-disabled people report not feel comfortable working for, or nearby, a person with a disability?

It is no wonder that most places of employment are not effective at hiring/retaining employees with disabilities!


This is the best video we have seen for combating these "attitudinal barriers". The Ten Commandments is an excellent tool for "disability awareness" training. This video has been consistently praised by employers throughout North America.

While focusing on disability "etiquette", the video also delivers a compelling portrait of people with disabilities as competent, contributing, and affable participants in the workforce.

In the video, key learning objectives are delivered through entertaining and light-hearted vignettes built around the following "Commandments":

  1. Speak directly rather than through a companion or sign language interpreter who may be present.

  2. Offer to shake hands when introduced. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb can usually shake hands and offering the left hand is an acceptable greeting.

  3. Always identify yourself and others who may be with you when meeting someone with a visual disability. When conversing in a group, remember to identify the person to whom you are speaking. When dining with a friend who has a visual disability, ask if you can describe what is on his or her plate.

  4. If you offer assistance, wait until the offer is accepted. Then listen or ask for instructions.

  5. Treat adults as adults. Address people with disabilities by their first names only when extending that same familiarity to all others. Never patronize people in wheelchairs by patting them on the head or shoulder.

  6. Do not lean against or hang on someone’s wheelchair. Bear in mind that people with disabilities treat their chairs as extensions of their bodies. And so do people with guide dogs and help dogs. Never distract a work animal from their job without the owner’s permission.

  7. Listen attentively when talking with people who have difficulty speaking and wait for them to finish. If necessary, ask short questions that require short answers, or a nod of the head. Never pretend to understand; instead repeat what you have understood and allow the person to respond.

  8. Place yourself at eye level when speaking with someone in a wheelchair or on crutches.

  9. Tap a person who has a hearing disability on the shoulder or wave your hand to get his or her attention. Look directly at the person and speak clearly, slowly, and expressively to establish if the person can read your lips. If so, try to face the light source and keep hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. If a person is wearing a hearing aid, don’t assume that they have the ability to discriminate your speaking voice. Never shout to a person. Just speak in a normal tone of voice.

  10. Relax. Don’t be embarrassed if you happen to use common expressions such as “See you later” or “Did you hear about this?” that seems to relate to a person’s disability.


"The video, Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities, is such a great training tool that we purchased one for each Director to use in their region as part of employee training."
- Delena Sunday, Executive Vice President, Diversity Affairs, Nordstrom

"Presented by Tim Harrington, an executive who was born with cerebral palsy, Ten Commandments is 25 minutes of enlightening interactions. Each commandment is presented with a wonderful blend of clarity, tolerance and sometimes humor."
- Deborah Kendrick, Syndicated Columnist of Disability Issues

"We showed it to our entire staff, and half the employees asked to borrow it afterwards for their church groups, softball teams and other extra curricular activities. Tim Harrington's a hoot! Everyone loves the condescending, interrupting lady. What an actress! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
- Mary Beth Ahern, Denver Options



The Ten Commandments Package includes: the 26 minute DVD and 20 pages of camera-ready reproducible Resource Guides (as handouts for viewers). The Resouce Guide is available as a pdf download. The (emailed) receipt for your order will include a link to the online file for the Resource Guide.


Closed Captioned and open captioned with audio descriptor.

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