Voices of our Nation

Diversity in Disabilities

Diversity consists of the ways that people differ from each other.  There are diverse types of disabilities including physical disabilities, mental disabilities, and even emotional disabilities. These disabilities can create several challenges for disabled employees. Every person, whether disabled or not disabled, possesses diverse individual strengths and weaknesses. Workplaces obviously need to become aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each employee.   

A physical disability is a limitation on a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina

A mental disability is a significant behavioral or psychological syndrome characterized by a lower mental ability than an average person. An emotional disability is a condition that, over a long period of time, consistently interferes with a person’s learning process and adversely affects the person’s workplace performance.

I was born with the physical disability Spina Bifida which has caused my lower body to be weak.

I have used a wheelchair for several years. It has also been difficult for me to find job in the small community where I live due to accessibility issues. It is also challenging for me to be as mobile during the winter months due to bad weather. However, I do have skills and abilities that could be useful within a workplace.   

Workplaces need to be aware of disability issues and address these issues properly so that the workplace can function as effectively as possible. Training is one of the most important aspects that will eventually deal with most of the factors concerning disabilities in a workplace. When a person with a disability is hired this person may require different training methods to help this person to be successful within the workplace. Specific training strategies for him to sharpen his skills faster. Reasonable accommodation is another important element. Employees with disabilities deserve an accommodation that suits their rational requirements for expected productivity. Communication with these employees is another factor you need to pay heed to. If an employee has problems with speech, ask him again what you don’t understand. Just because he cannot take active part, doesn’t mean he/she isn’t allowed to participate in activities/discussions/meetings. These strategies could be useful to allow the workplace to function more effectively and efficiently.

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

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