A man and a woman with developmental disabilities.

Customers with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities


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Developmental or intellectual disabilities can mildly or profoundly limit a person's ability to learn, communicate, do everyday physical activities and live independently.

You may not be able to know that someone has this disability unless you are told, or you notice the way the person acts, asks questions or uses body language. However, they may understand you more than you realize.

An example of a developmental disability would be Down Syndrome.

Here's some guidance:

  • Don't assume what a person can or cannot do.
  • Use plain language.
  • Make sure your customer understands what you've said. You can be direct and ask: "Do you understand this?"
  • Provide one piece of information at a time. You can break down the information into simpler concepts, without exaggerating speech or gestures or being patronizing.
  • You may want to ask if the information needs to be repeated.