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Respectful Engagement

Treat adults as adults. Support the person’s right to make choices, and ask them how best to work with them. For example, you might say “I have a bunch of options for you to think about.  What’s the best way for me to give those to you?”

  • Because many people like to please others, it is important to be mindful of your body language, tone of voice, and other gestures that may influence a person’s independent decision-making.
  • Draw on the person’s experience. Ask how the person has handled similar situations in the past.
  • Remember that your responsibility is to the person with the intellectual disability. If the person has a guardian, it can be ideal to have another advocate work with the guardian to provide further education. That education can help the guardian support the person in making healthy choices, or provide other information, such as definitions of consent.
  • Don’t assume a person who has limited or no speech cannot understand what is being said. People usually understand more than they can express.
  • Never pretend you understand what is said when you don’t.  Ask the person to tell you again.  Repeat what you understand.