Project Description & Informed Consent

People sometimes make comments or ask questions that are awkward, misguided, patronizing, ridiculous, inappropriate, hurtful, offensive, and/or infuriating to people with disabilities. At best these comments/questions are well-intended but naive or uninformed, and often based on assumptions or stereotypes about disabled people. At worst, they are bullying or discriminatory.  

This study invites people with disabilities to share their experiences of such "things people say to disabled people." The purpose is to produce a database of such statements/questions and explore who says them, why they say them, how people with disabilities think about and respond to them, and, more importantly, how we can learn from them and create more informed and ethical communication between temporarily able-bodied people and those with disabilities.

This study is being conducted by Dr. Michael Jeffress, a disability studies and communication studies scholar at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad ( Your participation is voluntary and comes with neither offer of reward or compensation nor consequences for not participating. 

No personally identifying information will be collected through this questionnaire. Any names of individuals or businesses mentioned in any comments will be changed in order to protect the confidentiality of all involved. You will be asked to provide answers to 12 quick general demographic questions and then have the opportunity to provide up to 5 examples of things people have said to you. For each statement you share, you will be asked 4 multiple-choice and 3 comment questions.

The amount of time you need to complete this survey will depend on how many experiences you choose to share. It is estimated that you will need about 5-10 minutes for each experience. At the bottom of each page you will be asked if you want to share another experience. When you either select that you do not wish to share another experience or you enter your fifth entry, you will be taken to the final page to submit your completed questionnaire.

Participation in any study comes with potential benefits and risks. The potential benefits of this study include being being able to share your accounts and have them become part of academic research and possible presentations and publications that can help promote public discourse, raise awareness and facilitate more ethical communication exchanges involving people with disabilities.  Potential risks include being asked to reflect upon experiences that may have been unpleasant or uncomfortable and re-experiencing emotions.

If you have any questions before, during or after participation in this study, you may contact Dr. Michael Jeffress at This study will conclude and the survey link will become inactive on November 30, 2018.

By proceeding to the next page, you affirm that you have read above description and provided your informed consent to participate.