- State that you (or your loved one) are disabled and require accommodation
- Do NOT feel pressured to reveal your diagnosis unless you are comfortable and choose to do so of your own volition.
- State what reasonable accommodations you require.
- Know the laws that give you the protection to ask for this accommodation. For example, in the general public in the United States, you (or your loved one) are covered by the ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Advocacy During Duress
- Keep links to the laws bookmarked for easy access. For example, I have the ADA.gov bookmarked in my phone and keep screenshots of the applicable parts of the law, especially when working with a service dog.
- If speeches become difficult and you are drained by the constant education and advocacy or if your hands are full while helping your loved one, consider having business cards made up that disclose that you are disabled and what reasonable accommodations you require. For example, if you have panic attacks in large groups of people, consider carrying a business card that has a stop sign and says, “STOP. I am okay. Please give me space to recover.” You could also carry a card that has a stick figure child saying,”Hi, my name is ….. and I am a little different. Please give me extra space so I don’t feel crowded,” for a loved one.
Important Links to the Laws
- Americans with Disabilities Act: https://www.ada.gov
- Fair Housing Act: https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1
- Air Carrier Access Act: https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/passengers-disabilities