If an individual has difficulty speaking, this does not necessarily mean they have an intellectual disability as well. Do not alter your own speech or attitude when speaking with this individual, and be sure to allow for sufficient time for them to communicate with you. Do not attempt to finish their sentences or words for them. If you do not understand the individual, ask for them to repeat themselves. Be patient and give them time.
An individual with vision loss may have any varying degree of sight and they may or may not have an assistive device with them. Help the individual to become familiar with their environment. Be very descriptive to help orient them to their new surroundings. Be sure the environment they will be in is safe by removing any unnecessary cones signs or other obstacles.
An individual with hearing loss may require an interpreter. If not, be sure to provide a clear view of the mouth of the individual who is speaking so they can read lips. Be sure to keep your hands or other objects away from your face and speak in a normal speed and tone.
Regardless of the disability if communication is difficult consider using writing or asking the individual to spell out what they are trying to say.
By keeping these points in mind, coaches, parents, and teammates can work together to ensure that all players have the opportunity to participate in baseball in a safe, respectful and positive environment.
For more information and resources for the community of athletes with a disability, please visit NCHPAD at www.nchpad.org.