Welcoming people well


I.   Welcoming people with disabilities

Here are some general tips common to all types of disabilities:

  • Be available, attentive and patient.
  • Don't stare at the person, be natural.
  • Consider the disabled person as a customer, a user or an ordinary patient: address them directly and not their companion if there is one, do not infantilize them and treat them.
  • Offer, but never impose your help.

Please note: you must accept guide dogs and assistance dogs in your establishment. Do not disturb them by petting them or distracting them: they are working.


II. Welcoming people with motor disabilities

1) Main difficulties encountered by these people

  • Transportation;
  • Obstacles when traveling: steps and stairs, slopes;
  • The width of corridors and doors;
  • La station debout et les attentes prolongées ;
  • Pick up or grab objects and sometimes

2) How to overcome them?

  • Make sure that circulation spaces are sufficiently wide and clear.
  • If possible, provide benches and rest seats.
  • Inform the person of the level of accessibility of the environment so that they can judge whether they need help or not.


III. Welcoming people with sensory disabilities

A/ Welcoming people with hearing impairment

1) Main difficulties encountered by these people

  • Oral communication;
  • Access to sound information;
  • Lack of written information.

2) How to overcome them?

  • Make sure the person is looking at you to start speaking.
  • Speak facing the person, clearly, using a normal flow, without exaggerating articulation and without shouting.
  • Favor short sentences and simple vocabulary.
  • Use body language to accompany your speech: pointing, facial expressions, etc.
  • Suggest something to write about.
  • Be sure to display the services offered and their prices in a visible, legible and well-contrasted manner.


B/ Welcoming people with visual impairments

1) Main difficulties encountered by these people

  • Identifying places and entrances;
  • Movement and identification of obstacles;
  • The use of writing and

2) How to overcome them?

  • Introduce yourself orally by giving your position. If the environment is noisy, speak directly to the person’s face.
  • Inform the person of the actions you are taking to serve them. Specify whether you are moving away and whether you are coming back.
  • If you have to move, offer your arm and walk a little in front to guide, adapting your pace.
  • Inform the disabled person about the environment, by describing precisely and methodically the spatial organization of the place, or even the table, a plate, etc.
  • If the person is asked to sit, guide their hand to the backrest and let them sit.
  • If documentation is provided (menu, catalog, etc.), offer to read or summarize it.
  • Be sure to design suitable documentation in large print (stick letters, minimum font size 4.5 mm) or with pictures, and with good contrast.
  • Some people can sign documents. In this case, simply place the tip of the pen where they are going to add their signature.
  • Don’t hesitate to offer your help if the person seems lost.


IV. Welcoming people with mental disabilities

A/ Welcoming people with intellectual or cognitive disabilities

1) Main difficulties encountered by these people

  • Communication (difficulties expressing oneself and understanding);
  • Deciphering and memorizing oral and sound information;
  • Mastery of reading, writing and arithmetic;
  • Location in time and space;
  • The use of devices and

2) How to overcome them?

  • Speak normally in simple sentences using words that are easy to understand. Don’t infantilize the person and embrace them.
  • Let the person complete certain tasks alone, even if it takes time.
  • Use images, reformulation and gestures in case of misunderstanding.
  • Use “easy to read and understand” (FALC) writing.
  • Offer to support the person in their purchase and help them with payment.


B/ Welcoming people with a mental disability

1) Main difficulties encountered by these people

  • Significant stress;
  • Reactions that are inappropriate to the context or uncontrolled behavior;
  • Communication

2) How to overcome them?

  • Converse calmly, without looking.
  • Be precise in your words, if necessary, repeat calmly.
  • In case of tension, do not contradict her, do not reproach her and reassure her.

Designed by the DMA in partnership with:


 Design-Production: MTES-MCT/SG/SPSSI/ATL2/Benoît Cudelou

To find out more about how to accommodate a disabled person: