Mélange Accessibility for All Magazine October 2020 | Page 102

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Fred ’ s suggestions for interacting with someone who has a disability .

You may have heard this a million times , but it ’ s true , we ’ re all “ people ” first , so you should use “ people first ” language . This is an acknowledgement that a person ’ s disability does not define them , but their humanity does . For example , instead of saying , “ a disabled person ” you should say , “ a person with a disability .”

Always speak directly to the person with a disability . If they use a wheelchair or if they are a little person , you should kneel down on one knee , or for extended conversations , you should sit in a chair . It ’ s always best to have level eye contact with the person who has the disability .

Easterseals’ Employment Services throughout the United States command attention during National Disability Employment Awareness Month October is recognized as National Disability Employment Awareness Month throughout the United States E asterseals, a leading service provider and advocate for people with disabilities in the U.S., is driven by its purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day. For more than 100 years, the non-profit organization has accomplished this through the delivery of critical services and powerful advocacy focused on ensuring that the one in four Americans living with disability today realize their potential so they can fully participate in life. Its National Network of 67 Affiliates provides a variety of home - and community - based services to children and adults with disabilities, veterans, seniors and their families - regardless of age or ability - throughout the country. One of Easterseals’ key programs offers workforce solutions designed to secure meaningful employment for people with disabilities, including veterans and older adults. “Only 19% of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 66% of nondisabled people,” said Angela F. Williams, Easterseals President and CEO. “Plus, significant disparities in the median incomes for people with and without disabilities still remain. According to the 2015 U.S. Census, median earnings for people without disabilities were more than $30,469 compared to the $20,250 median income reported for individuals with a disability. Easterseals is committed to changing these inequities.” Partnering with job seekers to identify their interests and assess their skills, Easterseals then provides training which prepares the candidate for employment interviews and additional supports as needed including resume writing, practice interviews and coaching. Easterseals also works with the employer to To Table of Contents “ Only 19% of people with disabilities are employed, compared to 66% of nondisabled F. Williams, Easterseals people” Angela President and CEO. assure the candidate’s success once hired including workforce accommodations, assistive technology, job coaching and transportation. Many U.S. corporations are realizing quantitative and qualitative benefits by hiring people with disabilities, captured in a 2018 Accenture Study: Getting to Equal. Among Study findings: companies deemed “Disability Inclusion Champions” realize higher shareholder returns and were, on average, two times more likely to outperform their peers in terms of total shareholder returns. These same businesses achieve 28 percent higher revenue and 30 percent higher profit margins compared to companies that do not include people with disabilities in their diversity and inclusion strategies. The qualitative benefits are equally impressive: higher retention rates among employees with disabilities, by up to 30 percent, when a well-run disability community outreach program is in place; increased productivity as reflected in a DuPont employee survey that found when employees with disabilities are graded on the same scale as nondisabled employees, 90 percent of them received performance ratings of average or above; enhanced overall employee morale as evidenced in studies that reflect nondisabled employees’ expectation and appreciation of a more inclusive work environment which they believe is better for everyone. Persons with disabilities bring strengths such as problem-solving skills, agility, persistence and a willingness to experiment to the workplace – all qualities essential for innovation. Such has been the experience of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. The company approached Easterseals when it sought individuals on the autism spectrum to expand neurodiversity in its workforce. Neurodiversity is the concept that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), To Table of Contents