Everyday disability terms explained – disability friendly employers, disclosure

Disability-friendly employer

Disability-friendly employers are organisations that are serious about equality & diversity. They will have structures in place to ensure that their disabled employees feel welcomed and valued.

Some-such employers will be signed up to schemes and initiatives or perhaps have their own staff disability network. These companies often display disability-related logos on their website and have information on the recruitment part of their website tailored to disabled applicants.

A ‘disability-friendly employer’ isn’t a term only reserved for large employers. It’s also worth noting that a company who is signed up to a scheme like Disability Confident doesn’t automatically make them disability-friendly.

Whether the company is big or small, long established or newly formed, it’s always worth doing some on-line research when you are eyeing up a potential employer:

Does the company have a staff disability network?

Within their vacancies page, do they explain how disabled applicants can access adjustments?

Is their website and application form accessible?

Are disabled employees featured on their website or social media streams?

Have they won any disability awards?

This kind of research can be helpful in finding out if the company has the right attitude and policies in place to ensure those with disabilities can perform to the best of their abilities both during the application process and in the job role itself.

Disclosure

This is a term that many people dislike. All disclosure really means is telling a potential employer, or an employer you already work for, that you have a disability or disabilities. Other terms for disclosure that people seem to prefer include ‘being open with an employer’ and ‘sharing information’.

Some key things to remember about disclosing:

  • Keep things clear and concise. You can do this by focussing on what it is you think would be useful for the employer to know. Use wording and terminology you are comfortable with.
  • So, start by telling them the situation, e.g. ‘I am dyslexic’ or you might prefer just writing/saying ‘I have a disability’.
  • Then get across some of the ways the disability impacts you. For instance, ‘This means it takes me longer to read long paragraphs or write things like emails. I find it hard to focus if I’ve been given multiple or unclear instructions.’
  • If you need adjustments, let them know which adjustments you will require. If you are not sure which one/s you would benefit from, mention that you would like to discuss some adjustments.
  • Think about disclosing early in the application process. For example, it wouldn’t be helpful for you to turn up to a job interview and tell them on the day that you have a disability and require adjustments!
  • Make sure to also communicate the strengths & skills having a disability has given you e.g. problem solving, empathy, communication, novel approaches to tasks, ability to spot patterns, attention to detail, organisation, proactive nature, flexible, resilience, adaptability.

There are lots more posts about disclosure on the DTG blog.

 

 

Edmund Lewis, AGCAS Disability Task Group, University of Westminster

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