It’s important to educate yourself on disability. Unless you are living with a disability, it can be difficult to understand what these individuals are going through. You can learn to support people with disabilities in any way you can. You might be able to improve your workplace conditions or help someone reconnect with their hobby.
Those with disabilities can feel lonely and isolated. If you know someone in your life with a disability, encourage them to carry on with their hobbies and passions.
Allied Mobility spoke to Debbie North, a wheelchair user from Cumbria, about her passion for hill walking. She said: “I’m a big advocate of technology and in ten or fifteen-years’ time who knows what we’ll be capable of? The Terrain Hopper has allowed me to experience things that otherwise I wouldn’t be able to experience. I see it as like my hiking boots that’s suitable for all seasons.”
Allied Mobility helped Debbie continue hill walking, even after being diagnosed with a degenerate spinal condition. Debbie now seeks to raise awareness of accessibility issues so more people can continue to enjoy their old hobbies.
Here are a few more ways you support people with disabilities.
Talk to them
Not everyone with a disability wants or needs your help. If one of your colleagues has a disability, talk to them respectfully and honestly. After all, they are the expert on the condition and needs. Ask them how you can make the workplace more accessible, or offer a helping hand if they need it. You can learn more about their disability if they feel comfortable talking about it.
Make eye contact
Always make eye contact and speak clearly to those with cognitive disabilities. Try to match your vocabulary and pace with theirs. Listen to them when they talk and do not interrupt them. If they are in a wheelchair, sit down so they don’t strain their neck to speak to you. Small adjustments to your body language and communication can make a world of difference.
Think about accessibility across the workplace. For example, when inviting colleagues to your presentation, ask if you can do anything to make the event more accessible. Your colleagues can get in touch, and you can make sure everyone can fully participate. Be flexible and adjust your presentation to make it suitable for everyone.
There is no shame in trying to educate yourself on inclusivity.