Accessible Customer Services
Customer Service Policy Statement:
Providing Goods and Services to People with Disabilities
- Our mission
Delivering specialized therapy and innovative programs to help children reach their unique potential.
- Our commitment
In fulfilling our mission, The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent strives at all times to provide its goods and services in a way that respects the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. We are also committed to giving people with disabilities the same opportunity to access our goods and services and allowing them to benefit from the same services, in the same place and in a similar way as other customers.
- Providing goods and services to people with disabilities
The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent is committed to excellence in serving all customers including people with disabilities and we will carry out our functions and responsibilities in the following areas:
We will communicate with people with disabilities in ways that take into account their disability.
We will train staff who communicate with customers on how to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities.
3.2 Telephone services
We are committed to providing fully accessible telephone service to our customers. We will train staff to communicate with customers over the telephone in clear and plain language and to speak clearly and slowly.
We will offer to communicate with customers by TTY or fax if telephone communication is not suitable to their communication needs or is not available.
3.3 Assistive devices
We are committed to serving people with disabilities who use assistive devices to obtain, use or benefit from our goods and services. We will ensure that our staff are trained and familiar with various assistive devices that may be used by customers with disabilities while accessing our goods or services.
We will also ensure that staff knows how to use the following assistive devices available on our premises for customers: accessible time delayed doors, ceiling track lifts, flip down adult sized change table, ceiling track lifts in accessible washroom and accessible ramp to pool.
- Use of service animals and support persons
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal on the parts of our premises that are open to the public and other third parties. We will also ensure that all staff, volunteers and others dealing with the public are properly trained in how to interact with people with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal.
We are committed to welcoming people with disabilities who are accompanied by a support person. Any person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person will be allowed to enter The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent’s premises with his or her support person. At no time will a person with a disability who is accompanied by a support person be prevented from having access to his or her support person while on our premises.
- Notice of temporary disruption
The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent will provide customers with notice in the event of a planned or unexpected disruption in the facilities or services usually used by people with disabilities. This notice will include information about the reason for the disruption, its anticipated duration, and a description of alternative facilities or services, if available.
The notice will be placed at all public entrances and service counters on our premises.
- Training for staff
The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent will provide training to all employees, volunteers and others who deal with the public or other third parties on their behalf, and all those who are involved in the development and approvals of customer service policies, practices and procedures Training will include the following:
- The purposes of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 and the requirements of the customer service standard
- How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
- How to interact with people with disabilities who use an assistive device or require the assistance of a service animal or a support person
- Feedback process
Feedback regarding the way The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent provides goods and services to people with disabilities can be made by notifying the front office of any comments. All feedback will be directed Donna Litwin-Makey, Executive Director. Customers can expect to hear back in 3 working days. Complaints will be addressed according to complaint categories already established in our company’s complaint management procedures.
- Modifications to this or other policies
We are committed to developing customer service policies that respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities. Therefore, no changes will be made to this policy before considering the impact on people with disabilities.
Any policy of The Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent that does not respect and promote the dignity and independence of people with disabilities will be modified or removed.
- Questions about this policy
This policy exists to achieve service excellence to customers with disabilities. If anyone has a question about the policy, or if the purpose of a policy is not understood please let our front office know.
Accessible Customer Service Guidelines
Did you know?
1.8 million people in Ontario have a disability
Did you know?
“Disability” may involve:
- Physical impairment
- Sensory impairment
- Cognitive or intellectual impairment
- Mental or developmental disorder
- Various types of chronic diseases
Did you know?
People with disabilities travel, shop and do business just like everyone else
Did you know?
Excellent customer service includes treating all customers equitably, with respect and dignity, and with courtesy.
Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent is committed to providing excellent customer service to all residents and visitors, and to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
To do this, we must recognize the diverse needs of all of our residents, including the needs of people with disabilities.
In 2008, the Government of Ontario launched the accessible customer service standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Its goal is to ensure that people with disabilities get the same level of customer service as everyone else.
The law requires that all public and private sector organizations in Ontario, including Chatham-Kent identify, remove and prevent barriers to accessible customer service, It also states that all staff and third party service providers must be trained on how to provide accessible customer service.
The guide will give you tips on how best to interact with a person with a disability, so that you can provide excellent customer service to all Chatham-Kent residents.
When interacting with a person with a disability, remember the T.A.L.K. principle:
T= Take the time to ask “May I help you?”
A= Ask – don’t assume. Never assist unless asked.
L= Listen attentively and speak directly to the customer
K= Know the accommodations and special services that are available
If you notice a person is having difficulty accessing your good or services, a good starting point is to simply ask how you can best help. Be patient- and remember your customers are your best source of information about their needs. The solution can be simple and they will likely appreciate your attention and consideration.
How to interact and communicate with people with various types of disabilities
Being able to interact and communicate with people with disabilities is a big part of providing accessible customer service. Sometimes the best approach is to ask a person with a disability how you can best communicate with them.
Here are some tips:
Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
A person who has a hearing loss may be deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing loss ranges from mild to profound. Deaf, Deafened or hard of hearing individuals may use hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language and /or other assistive listening devices.
- Attract the person’s attention before you speak. Use eye contact and a simple wave or a light touch on the shoulder to connect visually.
- Make sure the area is well lit where your customer can see your face and read your lips.
- Do not shout. Shouting may only create noise distortions when amplified through a hearing aid.
- Look at and speak directly to your customer. Address your customer, not their interpreter.
- If necessary, ask if another method of communicating would be easier such as writing back and forth. If writing, keep sentences short.
- Speak naturally, with normal expression and at a normal pace.
- Be clear and precise when giving directions, and repeat or rephrase if necessary.
- Ask one question at a time.
- Any personal or confidential matters should be discussed in a private room to avoid other people overhearing.
- In group settings, talk one at a time.
- Be patient. A person’s first language may not be English. It may be American Sign Language.
- Don’t touch or address service animals. They are working and have to pay attention at all times.
Persons who are Deaf/Blind
A person who is deaf/blind has some degree of both vision and hearing loss. This results in greater difficulties in accessing information. Many individuals who are deaf/blind will be accompanied by an intervenor, a professional who helps with communication.
Intervenors are trained in a special sign language that involves touching the hands of the client in a two-hand, manual alphabet or finger-spelling and may guide and interpret for their client.
- Don’t assume what a person can or cannot do. People who are deaf/blind have varying degrees of hearing and vision loss. Each individual is unique.
- A customer who is deaf/blind will likely explain to you how to best communicate with them or give you an assistance card or note explaining how to communicate with him or her.
- Speak directly to your customer and not the intervenor.
- Identify yourself to the intervenor when you approach your customer who is deaf/blind.
- Communication may be improved by being in an area with good lighting and reduced background noise.
- Don’t touch or address service animals. They are working and have to pay attention at all times.
- Never touch a person who is deaf/blind suddenly or without permission unless it is an emergency.
- Do not leave without saying good-bye.
People who have physical disabilities
There are many types and degrees of physical disabilities. Only some people with physical disabilities use a wheelchair. Someone with a spinal cord injury may use crutches while someone with severe arthritis or a heart condition may have difficulty walking long distances.
- If you need to have a lengthy conversation with someone who uses a wheelchair or scooter, consider sitting so you can make eye contact at the same level.
- Don’t touch items or equipment, such as canes or wheelchairs, without permission.
- If you have permission to move a person’s wheelchair, don’t leave them in a awkward, dangerous or undignified position, such as facing a wall or in the path of opening doors.
People who have vision loss
Vision loss can restrict someone’s ability to read, locate landmarks or see hazards. Some customers may use a guide dog or a white cane, while others may not.
- Don’t assume the individual can’t see you. Many people who have low vision still have some sight.
- Identify yourself when you approach your customer and speak directly to them.
- Ask your customer if they would like you to read any printed material out loud to them (for example, a menu or schedule of fees).
- When providing directions or instructions, be precise and descriptive.
- Offer your elbow to guide them if needed.
People who have learning disabilities
The term “Learning disabilities” refers to a variety of disorders, such as dyslexia, that affect how a person takes in or retains information. This disability may become apparent when a person has difficulty reading material or understanding the information you are providing.
- Be patient – people with some learning disabilities may take a little longer to process information, to understand and to respond.
- Try to provide information in a way that takes into account the customer’s disability. For example, some people with learning disabilities find written words difficult to understand, while others may have problems with numbers and math.
People with speech or language impairments
Cerebral palsy, hearing loss or other conditions may make it difficult for a person to pronounce words or may cause slurring. Some people who have severe difficulties may use a communication board or other assistive devices.
- Don’t assume that a person with a speech impairment has another disability.
- Whenever possible, ask questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no”.
- Be patient. Don’t interrupt or finish your customer’s sentences.
People who have mental health disabilities
Mental health issues can affect a person’s ability to think clearly, concentrate or remember things. Mental health disability is a broad term for many disorders that can range in severity. For example, some customers may experience anxiety due to hallucinations, mood swings, phobias or panic disorder.
- Treat a person with a mental health disability with the same respect and consideration you have for everyone else.
- Be confident, calm and reassuring.
- If a customer appears to be in crisis, ask them to tell you the best way to help.
People who have intellectual/developmental disabilities
Developmental or intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome, can limit a person’s ability to learn, communicate, do every day physical activities and live independently. You may not know that someone has this disability unless you are told.
- Don’t make assumptions about what a person can do.
- Use plain language.
- Provide one piece of information at a time.
How to interact with people who use devices
An assistive device is a tool, technology or other mechanism that enables a person with a disability to do everyday tasks and activities, such as moving, communicating or lifting. Personal assistive devices can include things like wheelchairs, hearing aids, white canes or speech amplification devices.
- Don’t touch or handle any assistive device without permission.
- Don’t move assistive devices or equipment, such as canes and walkers, out of your customer’s reach.
- Let your customer know about accessible features in the immediate environment that are appropriate to their needs (e.g. public phones with TTY service, accessible washrooms, etc.)
How to interact with people with disabilities who require the assistance of a guide dog or other service animal
People with vision loss may use a guide dog, but there are other types of service animals as well. Hearing alert animals help people who are deaf, deafened, oral deaf, or hard of hearing. Other service animals are trained to alert an individual to an oncoming seizure.
Under the accessible customer service standard, service animals are allowed on parts of the premises that are open to the public or to other third parties, unless the animal is otherwise excluded by law. You may ask a person for a letter from a physician or nurse verifying that their animal is required for reasons relating to their disability if it is not readily apparent.
- Remember that a service animal is not a pet. It is a working animal.
- Avoid touching or addressing service animals – they are working and have to pay attention at all times.
- Avoid making assumptions about the animal. If you’re not sure if the animal is a pet or a service animal, ask your customer.
How to interact with people with disabilities who require the assistance of a support person
Some people with disabilities may be accompanied by a support person, such as an intervener. A support person can be a personal support worker, a volunteer, a family member or a friend. A support person might help your customer with a variety of things from communicating, to helping with mobility, personal care or medical needs.
According to the accessible customer service standard, a support person must be allowed to accompany an individual with a disability to any part of the premises that is open to the public or to third parties. If an event charges admission, advance notice must be given about what admission fee will be charged for a support person.
- If you’re not sure which person is the customer, take your lead from the person using or requesting the goods or services, simply ask.
- Speak directly to your customer, not to their support person.