Staff Training

 

Often, the biggest barrier to workplace accessibility is not architectural, but rather attitudinal.  Fellow employees may have misconceptions about people with disabilities and the work they can do, such as the following:

  • Inferiority – Employees with disabilities are seen as “second-class citizens.”
  • Pity – People feel sorry for these employees and are patronizing toward them.
  • Hero worship – Employees with a disability who live independently are perceived as “special.”
  • Ignorance – Employees with disabilities are dismissed as incapable.
  • Multi-sensory effect – People assume that an employee’s disability affects other senses.
  • Stereotypes – People make generalizations about individuals with disabilities.
  • Backlash – People believe employees with disabilities are being given an unfair advantage.
  • Denial – People may not believe that hidden disabilities are legitimate, and therefore do not believe any accommodation is needed.
  • Fear – People are afraid they will offend an employee with a disability by doing or saying the wrong thing, and thus avoid the employee altogether.
  • One way to promote a disability-friendly workplace culture for your employees as well as your customers and clients is by providing disability inclusion training to your staff. The training should convey your business’s commitment to an inclusive workplace and help employees understand their responsibilities in fulfilling that commitment. Options to consider include:
  • General training for all staff on disability etiquette, and specialized training for supervisors on workplace accommodations
  • Informal format, such as brown-bag lunches, or formal, such as online modules, specific curriculum, etc.