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People with Developmental Disabilities

Developmental disabilities (such as Down syndrome) or intellectual disabilities can mildly or profoundly limit a person’s ability to learn, communicate, do everyday physical activities or live independently.


  • Don’t make assumptions about what a person can or cannot do.
  • Don’t exaggerate your speech or speak in a patronizing way.
  • Use plain language.
  • Provide one piece of information at a time.
  • If you’re not sure of what is being said to you, confirm by summarizing or repeating what was said, or politely ask them to repeat it – don’t pretend if you’re not sure.
  • Ask the customer if they would like help reading your material or completing a form, and wait for them to accept the offer of assistance.
  • Be patient and allow extra time if needed.