Disability and Etiquette Awareness

Ian Grant 

Blog #5 – Disability and Etiquette Awareness

Disability etiquette is a set of guidelines dealing specifically with how to approach a person with a disability. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability_etiquette)

Disability Awareness means educating people regarding disabilities and giving people the knowledge required to carry out a job or task thus separating good practice from poor. (Jun 10, 2018 – Disabled World)

I am going to make a giant leap here, let’s start with the premise that all employers understand the business case for hiring people with disabilities and hire inclusively.  Why? Because it makes business sense, it opens your business to more customers, differently abled people work harder, are more reliable and improve the bottom line.  Inclusive design provides access. Inclusive hiring increases the talent pool. Inclusive practices make your business more marketable to everyone.

So, let’s go there.  The company wants to hire using inclusive hiring practices, they want to expand their opportunities and potential growth.  Now that they have identified a candidate, they have to integrate that candidate with the existing work force they have.  Employees are no different than employers, they have the same reservations, the same preconceptions and the same objections about onboarding new staff. Add to the mix someone who is blind, someone who is deaf, someone who has mobility issues or someone who has an invisible disability but presents in a manner that can be disconcerting to others. Employees will be concerned about how to interact, how to work alongside a person with a disability, even how to talk to the new hire.  So, how does an employer get buy in from the staff?  How do you provide the best environment for success? How do you make this a win-win situation for all? 

The answer is education, not formal years of college, university or high school, but real world, hands on, interactive training.  Etiquette and Disability Awareness training to be specific.  Find out how to interact with people with disabilities in general but more importantly get training designed to assist you with the specific disability that your work has chosen to include. Teach your current staff and your management team how to talk to a person with a disability.  How to ask about accommodation, how to establish what is the preferred learning method for a person with their specific disability. How to assist a person who is blind navigate the workplace.  Learn methods of interaction that allow for the most productive environment.  After all the bottom line is improving the productivity and business opportunities for growth.

Addressing the unknown by providing information is the only way to alleviate the stress of onboarding a differently abled person.  It is not hard to imagine the times I have had to do something new, it happens on a regular basis.  The anxiety and anticipation leading up to the day in question can be excruciating and we all suffer from stress whether we like to admit it or not.  Once you have done whatever it is, you know what to expect, stress level down, anxiety goes down and the process of understanding how to adapt goes up.

In my work with Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC) I have the benefit and pleasure of working with many people who have a disability or as I prefer, are differently abled.  My colleagues include people who are blind, people with mobility issues, people with invisible disabilities, PPRC recruits inclusively. All of our consultants are recruited for their abilities, their work ethic, their knowledge of the life of a person adapting to their circumstance and challenges.  Interacting with the rest of the world.  Our role is to help differently abled people find jobs, to help them enter the workplace and find meaningful employment that matches their skills and abilities.  

Like any other work environment, we talk about how the day went, what happened and about how the world interacted with our clients.  What we know is that hiring inclusively is one part of the equation for success, on boarding the new hire and getting a positive work environment is the real challenge for creating a successful transition.

It is from these discussions and the twenty-four years of working with clients that we have developed our Disability Awareness and Etiquette Training.  Aimed at employers who hire inclusively and want to be successful or employers who are considering hiring the differently abled and want to understand how.  Consultants from PPRC will come to your workplace, speak to your employees, your management team, whomever you deem integral to the success of including a new differently abled hire.

Our consultants will talk in real terms, provide real examples, answer your questions, your concerns.  We are able to provide guidance and best practices for a variety of disabilities and if we need the services of another to address your specific concern we will find the subject matter experts to assist us.  PPRC believes in the abilities of everyone to have successful and meaningful employment.

All you need to do is contact PPRC and ask about our Disability and Etiquette Awareness Training.  Contact us at info@pprc.ca or via the website (www.pprc.ca) or call 1-800-427-6214.

As always, I am open to discussion, find me here on my blog, join the dialogue, Let’s Talk.