Ready for your festive round up?

Apologies from the DTG team that the blog has been a little quiet of late but now things are finally calming down for most of us….we hope you are ready for a last minute round up of some disability related news and advice you may have missed this year?

It’s quite a read, so grab your festive beverage of choice, relax and enjoy catching up on the following…

Festive drink


Employable Me

Some of you may have been watching the new series of Employable Me, where “Britain’s most extraordinary job seekers aim to prove that having a neurological condition, such as Tourette’s or autism, shouldn’t make them unemployable.”

Find out more about Genuis Within, the organisation who work with the show who describe themselves as being ‘passionate about developing talent and achieving success with ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Tourette Syndrome, Mental Health, and all neurodiverse conditions’.

Change 100 – Disclosure advice and employer workshop

Change 100 posted their ‘Top 8 Tips for Disclosing a Disability’ and still have an online workshop on 17th Jan 2018 where employers will be offering their advice. They suggested the following:

  • Disclose because you want to.  You’re under no legal obligation to disclose your disability but doing so may help you to get reasonable adjustments to enable you to fulfil your potential.
  • Disclose because it’s beneficial to you!  Ask yourself, if I don’t disclose, and don’t ask for reasonable adjustments, will it affect my performance?  Employers want to recruit the best talent from a level playing field, so let them know what you need.
  • During applications, use your disability to demonstrate skills you have developed through managing your condition, like resilience, initiative and problem-solving.
  •  Often disclosing sooner is better, so employers have time to put in place reasonable adjustments for you.
  • Tell an employer what you need to overcome any barriers your disability may present.  Employers care more about this than what those barriers are. (If you don’t know what reasonable adjustments you need at work, Change100 will help you find out!)
  • Avoid complicated medical terminology.  Employers may not have specialist knowledge of your condition. Concentrate more on how it affects you, and what you need to overcome it.
  • Get experience!  Learn how your disability affects you in work, develop your core competencies and discover what reasonable adjustments you need.  (At Change100, we’ll provide you with this paid experience at a prestigious UK employer!)
  • Talk to your careers team about what reasonable adjustments may mean for you.  Is it rest breaks? Screen-reader software? Flexible hours? Home working? Wheelchair access? Low-light levels in a room? Quiet spaces to withdraw to?  Each person, even with the same condition can require different adjustments.
  • Got questions and want to learn more? We have an evening online workshop (17 Jan 2018). To learn more about employer perspectives of disability disclosure, have your questions answered and to learn more about Change100 internships, visit to sign up!’

Mental Health Resources

Emma Saccomani from B6Learning talked on LinkedIn about her favourite mental health & wellbeing resources (October 2017). She offered her reviews below:

Reasons to stay alive by Matt Haig & Cheer up love by Susan Calman. Both books are informative and very readable personal journeys to better understand how depression and anxiety can be experienced, including useful resources and helpful insights, with warmth and humour along the way. If you’re experiencing mental health issues yourself, it’s a chance to feel you’re part of something bigger and not alone. If you’re trying to understand how to better support someone they both make it clear what helps and what absolutely doesn’t whilst recognising that someone’s good intent to support is what ultimately matters, however clumsy the delivery.

You don’t have to be famous to have manic depression by Jeremy Thomas and Dr Tony Hughes. Discover how Jeremy has experienced life with the extreme ups and downs of manic depression (bi-polar), through fascinating conversations with his psychiatrist and now friend Tony. It also includes an A-Z guide to good mental health and other individual personal journeys. Further great resources can be found at his engaging website and he’s particularly ‘in my good books’, excuse the pun, as he’s very happy for me to use extracts of his books in my training sessions and was very personable when I contacted him. Jeremy Thomas resources

The hairy *rsed builder’s guide to stress management – the DIY guide with a difference by Dave Lee. This the kind of down-to-earth unexpected gem of a book I love to come across. I met Dave at a Safety & Health conference and he’s got sound advice on how we can change our thinking to change our lives. You’ll find him very active on LinkedIn, keen to challenge any narrow thinking that simply medicalises mental health and keeps people in a diagnosis box.

The bridge between suicide and life – TED talk. Sergeant Kevin Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken, and listened to, standing on the edge of life, and delivers the powerful message in support of non-judgmental listening. The bridge between suicide and life

The Power of vulnerability – Ted Talk. Since we’re on the topic of TED Talks, if you haven’t come across this one by Brene Brown it’s well worth investing 20 minutes. It’s a funny, poignant exploration of human connection, and why showing vulnerability is such a courageous and powerful move. The Power of vulnerability

OCD an actor’s tale – TV programme. Actor Ian Puleston-Davies speaks about his OCD, mental health’s most misunderstood and hidden condition, and explores its impact on individuals’ lives and families. OCD an actor’s tale . I also saw his talk, or should I say, powerful re-enactment of his OCD, at a mental health conference where he demonstrated the complexities for him of a ‘simple’ act of sitting down.

The man who couldn’t stop – David Adam. Still on the topic of OCD, if you’d like to dive further into ‘the darkest corners of our mind’, read David Adam’s scientific, historical and personal account.

Anxiety UK website. There are some fantastic specialist websites that complement the fantastic information provided by MIND (they have numerous resources for the individual, employee and employer). In addition to their free information, Anxiety UK has the option to upgrade to an annual subscription. For £30 you get access to extra support tools including Headspace (normally Headspace costs £60 for the full package). Anxiety UK

Headspace app. The reason I like the Headspace app is that it’s such a low key and accessible introduction to mindfulness and, to be honest, I like Andy’s voice, as in it doesn’t annoy me! You can get ten free sessions ‘Take 10’ which you can keep, though I decided to upgrade where there are so many packs including Pain management, Depression, Anxiety, Stress. I find that ten minutes a day (or being more honest, every few days) has been beneficial for me.

A mindfulness guide for the frazzled & sane new world by Ruby Wax. She mixes science of the brain with no-nonsense humour and blatantly honest accounts of her personal journey to manage her mental health issues. She’s a firm advocate of the benefits of mindfulness and being a perfectionist went to study Mindfulness-based Cognitive therapy at Oxford University, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Stress and resilience – The upside of stress – TED talk and book. Kelly McGonigal shares some fascinating research into resilience and that just by learning how to change our attitude to stress, we can actually get good at it and reduce the negative! How to make stress your friend

All in the Mind’ on Radio 4. This is a thirty- minute radio show that explores the limits and potential of the human mind slots, with up-to-date research and contributions from both professionals and those with lived experience. All in the mind

 I am 1 in 4 Mental Health Blogging platform. This platform is rich in resources and gives those who experience mental illness a voice and seeks to reduce the stigma endured by so many I am 1 in 4 Here’s a useful little video by Tom who founded it and runs it in his free time, whilst working full-time and bringing up a family! No shame in taking medication

Self – employment and disability

An article from Visualised Training and Consultancy discussed, Is self-employment the better option for people with disabilities?

Are universities failing D/deaf students?

In July Universities were criticised in the Guardian for not addressing the needs of D/deaf students.

Autism in the news

Autism seemed to be in the news a lot. Just a few stories to include here – reports that Autism Hour, organised by the National Autistic Society was being held in more and more places.

The National Autistic Society also produced this You Tube video highlighting what the job interview process can be like from the perspective of someone with Autism.

The Atlantic published a piece on The Advantages of Autistic Employees while organisation Autistica aim to, “increase the UK’s autism research spend from £4 million to £12 million a year, get 20,000 autistic people and family members involved in research, nurture at least 5 new independent leaders within autism research”

Ambitious about Autism and the Civil Service also worked together to develop and run the Autism Exchange Programme.

Phew! Hope you enjoyed the read.

The AGCAS Disability Task Group would like to wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas break.

Catch up with you again in 2018!

Claire Byron, AGCAS Disability Task Group, Newcastle University


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