Communicating with Customers with a Learning Disability

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Knowing how to communicate successfully with people with a learning disability will help to ensure that visitors have a great experience of Bournemouth and that local residents receive excellent service that meets their specific needs. 

  • Treat people with learning disabilities with respect and consideration
  • Smile, relax and remember that people with learning disabilities want to experience friendly and helpful customer service
  • Take your time and be patient – people with learning disabilities may take a little longer to understand what you are saying, to respond and to make decisions
  • Ask if you can help and wait for a response. You can then ask how you can help
  • Look at the disabled person and watch their body language
  • Speak directly to the disabled person rather than to any family member, friend or carer accompanying them
  • Use plain language and short sentences
  • Provide one piece of information at a time
  • Check that you have understood what the disabled person is saying
  • If you can’t understand what is being said, ask again
  • Make sure the disabled person has understood your remarks
  • If a customer with a learning disability is alone, be prepared to escort them to their destination within your premises
  • Consider moving to a quieter area if you are speaking somewhere very busy or noisy
  • Be prepared to offer extra help with completing forms or making a purchase