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Unit 7: Support Persons

In this unit, you will learn:

Support persons

Who is a support person?

A support person is an individual hired or chosen to accompany a person with a disability to provide services or assistance with communication, mobility, personal care, medical needs or access to goods or services.

Personal care needs may include, but are not limited to, assistance with eating or using the washroom. Medical needs may include, but are not limited to, monitoring someone’s health conditions, providing injections and providing support when someone has moderate to severe seizures.

The support person can be a paid personal support worker, volunteer, a friend or a family member. He or she does not necessarily need to have special training or qualifications.

Customers with disabilities must be allowed to use their support persons while accessing your organization’s goods or services on the parts of the premises open to the public or third parties. If your organization charges for admission, you are required to have a policy regarding what amount, if any, is charged for support persons. Advance notification of a fee, if any, is required.

Functions of support persons

The following chart contains some examples of functions performed by support persons:

Person with a Disability Support Person’s Functions

Person who is deafblind

To guide, to provide transportation and adaptive communication such as tactile or adapted American Sign language, large print notes, print on palm or two-handed manual signing

Person who is Deaf, deafened, oral deaf

To provide sign language or oral interpretation services – to translate conversation, not to participate in it

Person with a learning disability

To help with complex communication or note-taking

Person with an intellectual/ developmental disability

To help with travel, daily activities, prompting medication, complex tasks, or to keep them from dangerous situations

Person with a mental health disability

To help with communication tasks such as completing complex forms.

To help in environments such as crowded, noisy settings or high-stress situations such as interviews

Person with a physical disability

To provide services related to travelling, personal care such as toileting or eating, monitoring medical conditions

Person with a seizure disorder

To assist in the event of a seizure, e.g. to protect the individual from falls

Person with a speech impairment who uses an augmentative or alternative communication system (symbol board, electronic communication system)

To relay or interpret a person’s communications

Person with vision loss

To read or to guide

Tips on interacting with a customer who has a support person

Self-test: Units 4, 5, 6 & 7

Which of the following should you not do when serving a customer who uses an assistive device, a service animal, or a support person?

  1. Speak directly to the customer.
  2. Pet a guide dog because he’s so cute and you love animals.
  3. Request permission to move your customer’s wheelchair.
  4. Be aware of how to use specific assistive devices offered by your organization.


b is the correct answer:

Avoid touching or petting service animals – they are working and must pay attention at all times.