Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention with Persons with Disabilities

Table of Contents



Disability, Awareness, Training, Accessibility, and Diversity

  • Guideline 1: Psychologists strive to learn about various disability paradigms and models and their implications for service provision    

  • Guideline 2: Psychologists strive to examine their beliefs and emotional reactions toward various disabilities and determine how these might influence their work             

  • Guideline 3: Psychologists strive to increase their knowledge and skills about working with individuals with disabilities through training, supervision, education, and expert consultation  

  • Guideline 4: Psychologists strive to learn about federal and state laws that support and protect people with disabilities       

  • Guideline 5: Psychologists strive to provide a barrier-free physical and communication environment in which clients with disabilities may access psychological services      

  • Guideline 6: Psychologists strive to use appropriate language and respectful behavior toward individuals with disabilities                    

  • Guideline 7: Psychologist strive to understand both the common experiences shared by persons with disabilities, and the factors that influence an individual’s personal disability experience     

  • Guideline 8: Psychologists strive to recognize social and cultural diversity in the lives of persons with disabilities 

  • Guideline 9: Psychologists strive to learn how attitudes and misconceptions, the social environment, and the nature of a person’s disability influence development across the lifespan 
    Guideline 10: Psychologists strive to recognize that families of individuals with disabilities have strengths and challenges

  • Guideline 11: Psychologists strive to recognize that people with disabilities are at increased risk for abuse and address abuse-related situations appropriately

  • Guideline 12: Psychologists strive to learn about the opportunities and challenges presented by assistive technology       

Testing and Assessment

  • Guideline 13: In assessing persons with disabilities, psychologists strive to consider disability as a dimension of diversity together with other individual and contextual dimensions

  • Guideline 14: Depending on the context and goals of assessment and testing, psychologists strive to apply the assessment approach that is most psychometrically sound, fair, comprehensive, and appropriate for clients with disabilities

  • Guideline 15: Psychologists strive to determine whether accommodations are appropriate for clients to yield a valid test score

  • Guideline 16: Consistent with the goals of the assessment and disability-related barriers to assessment, psychologists in clinical settings strive to appropriately balance quantitative, qualitative, and ecological perspectives, and articulate both the strengths and limitations of assessment       

  • Guideline 17: Psychologists in clinical settings strive to maximize fairness and relevance in interpreting assessment of data of clients who have disabilities by applying approaches which reduce potential bias and balance and integrate data from multiple sources       


  • Guideline 18: Psychologists strive to recognize that there is a wide range of individual response to disability, and collaborate with their clients who have disabilities, and when appropriate, with their clients’ families to plan, develop, and implement psychological interventions
    Guideline 19: Psychologists strive to be aware of the therapeutic structure and environment’s impact on their work with clients with disabilities    

  • Guideline 20: Psychologists strive to recognize that interventions with persons with disabilities may focus on enhancing strengths well being as well as reducing stress and ameliorating skill deficits       

  • Guideline 21: When working with systems that support, treat, or educate people with disabilities, psychologists strive to keep clients’ perspectives paramount and advocate for client self-determination, integration, choice, and least restrictive alternatives

  • Guideline 22: Psychologists strive to recognize and address health promotion issues for individuals with disabilities

Concluding Statements