Basic assistive technology etiquette

If you have etiquette tips to add, feel free to comment!

  • I can’t believe I still have to say this, but if I need/want help, I will ask for it. It is invasive to help people without asking or waiting for them to ask. Particularly if you grab something away from them.
  • Interrupting someone while he or she is dictating is similar to interrupting a phone call. If you need to get my attention, stand in my peripheral vision or tap the desk lightly. DO NOT TAP ME. In any case, give me a chance to say “stop listening” and pause the microphone. If you attempt to talk while standing right beside me, you will likely hang or freeze my Dragon. Being a dutiful Dragon, it will try and fail to understand you (and I won’t be able to kill the microphone), resulting in my inability to work until it finally gives up with an “utterance too long to process” message.
  • Do not play with my keyboard. It is not a toy. Most likely, I have emergency AutoHotKey scripts running off a flash drive. Playing with my keyboard will cause odd things to happen. Do not play with my typing stick, or lose it. It is not a toy either.
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2 Responses to Basic assistive technology etiquette

  1. deborah says:

    dictation etiquette points, the you would not believe how often they come up:

    1. If I am dictating within earshot of you, it is NOT FUNNY or in any way amusing for you to occasionally yell “Delete! Delete!” as if you were talking to my computer.

    2. If I am dictating within earshot of you, it is polite to pretend that you can’t hear me, just as it is polite to pretend that you can’t see your coworkers in their three-walled cubes. If I am dictating to somebody else do not carry on a conversation with me as if the things I am saying are being addressed to you.

    3. Please don’t watch me dictate and then say “that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! I wish I could do it! Can I play?” That’s pretty much like walking up to somebody in a wheelchair and saying “it’s so cool that you can run that thing! Can I use it?”

    … Wait, you probably do that too, don’t you?

  2. hand2mouth says:

    Ha! Yes, number 3. I get that all the time too. It reminds me of a great comeback I read on a blog once, but I can’t remember where I found it — the upshot was that some condescending person or other walked up to a girl in a wheelchair and said all sweet like, “I wish I had your chair, it’s so neat,” and the girl replied, “I wish I had your legs.”
    Sometimes I feel like retorting to someone who does this quite often, “It’s so cool that your hands work! Can I borrow them?”
    Fortunately, though, none of my coworkers has ever tried the old “Delete” chestnut. I hope you don’t get that one a lot!

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