Disability Pride Month is a time to accept and honour each person’s uniqueness and promote visibility and mainstream awareness. On July 26th, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. Each July Is celebrated as Disability Pride Month in commemoration of the historic moment.
Some people may see the month as a time to celebrate their individual success and accomplishments, whereas others may celebrate the feeling of pride about being disabled. No matter what the month means to individuals, the main focus is to be proud of being disabled and for people to be unapologetically themselves without having to fear making others uncomfortable or hiding for the comfort of others.
Making the Workplace Inclusive for Disabled Employees
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are critical priorities that are racing up the corporate agenda. But are you getting them right to benefit your organisation?
One billion people in the world live with some form of disability but their value is often unfortunately routinely ignored by businesses. Employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure workers with disabilities, or physical or mental health conditions, are not substantially disadvantaged when doing their jobs. When changing your work environment to accommodate all employees, it’s crucial to remember that not all conditions are physical or visible.
Consider practical options for employees with impairments in addition to modifying your workplace. Reasonable adjustments may include flexible working, A flexible workplace should support people with temporary or permanent disabilities, including anyone who might develop a disability. Disabled workers are more likely to want to work at home, a TUC report found Just over 90% of those who could work from home during the pandemic wanted to continue some form of home-based working in the future. There are definite benefits of home working for disabled workers. The TUC report found, 63% said it gave them greater control over their working lives, 47% had been able to change their work routine, and 40% said home working reduced fatigue and tiredness.
Lights, textures, sounds, and colours can all affect a person’s well-being. Sensory-friendly spaces are designed to help an individual with sensory processing disorder develop coping skills and regulate their brain’s response to stimuli. In some cases, a sensory space can be a whole room, or it can simply be a space set aside in a corner of a larger room. With 80% of people with autism not being employed, addressing workspace concerns could lessen these figures.
Inclusive workplaces are not just about hiring disabled people. Organisations need confident leaders who understand disability and accessibility. They need to be clear on the business case for inclusion. And they need to be ready to think differently. You can develop your knowledge through learning about disability statistics and employment research – How much do you know about disabled people and the experiences and barriers they face? Disability Pride Month spreads awareness of the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding those with disabilities, bringing the barriers and experiences they face to the forefront, enabling us to make that change.
There are 14.6 million disabled people in the UK. That’s 1 in 5 people. Research also shows that negative attitudes are one of the biggest barriers disabled people face. Managers should already be having conversations with each employee about what a great experience at work for them looks like, what support is needed, and what drives them. When you’re describing someone who has a disability, use ‘people first’ language, don’t make the disability the person’s defining feature. If you are unsure on the correct words to use, don’t be afraid to ask the person with disability. They will appreciate your openness and it may help them feel more comfortable. It is also important to remember that you should always speak to the person with the disability, not their companion, aide, or sign language interpreter. You should talk to them as with anyone else, respect their privacy and consider if it is necessary to ask about the disability. A significant advantage of having good communication skills with disabled members of your team, is that it also helps their retention of these employees, making them feel worthwhile and less isolated.
Having the right culture in your workplace can support and enable disabled workers and workers with long-term health conditions. It’s crucial to raise awareness and start conversations with your organisation about disability and the disabled community. This can be something as simple as sending employees a link to a podcast, or discussing what the month is. The more you and your organisation know about the disabled community, the better you can support those who are part of it in the workplace.
How Can Wellity Support You This Disability Pride Month?
We all come to work with the expectation that we are going to be treated appropriately – be shown respect, have our ideas and opinions listened to, be provided with the information we need to do our jobs and feel safe.
A Wellity training session ‘Inclusive Leadership’ will empower attendees with the awareness and knowledge to cooperate and communicate with respect, embrace differences, address concerns in a constructive way and help contribute towards a collective vision built on a collaborative, respectful, and harmonious work culture.
Envisaging what a positive and inclusive working environment looks like
Understand the benefits of fostering a positive and inclusive working environment and working relationships
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