University of Texas at AustinDivision of Diversity and Community Engagement

Ask How, Not If

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Having a disability does not mean a person is incompetent or incapable of working toward and achieving individual goals, tasks, and dreams. Through technology, adaptive equipment, persistence, and creativity, people with disabilities can engage and succeed in nearly any activity they choose. Sometimes it may take longer to complete a task or or may require an accommodation to assist them in their efforts, but the end result is still competence and ability.

In order to set a tone of competence and belief in ability ask how people they accomplish activities, not if they can accomplish them. For example, asking “How do you use a computer?” assumes competence, while asking “Do you use a computer” assumes the disability may limit a person’s ability. In some cases, you may need to work together to figure out the “how”, but open the conversation with the assumption of competence and belief if their ability to succeed.

Assume competence, not inability!

disABILITY Advocate Program