Dispelling myths

When it comes to hiring people with disabilities there are a lot of myths that go around; the truth is that hiring a person with a disability is the same as hiring someone without one. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the major barriers to achievement by people with disabilities in our society continue to be attitudinal barriers, stereotypical thinking, and assumptions about what people can and cannot do. It is important to eliminate the stereotypes and view each person individually. Below are some of the assumptions that can be found when it comes to hiring people with disabilities.

Myth: Persons with disabilities are more liable to injury and need to be protected from getting hurt.
Reality: Persons with disabilities have a right to participate in the full range of human experience including success and failure. Employers should have the same expectations of, and requirements for, all employees.

Myth: A person with a disability will have more difficulty getting to work, be less reliable.
Reality: Persons with disabilities are capable of supplying their own transportation by choosing to use a car pool, drive themselves, use a personal care assistant, take public transportation, or a cab. Their modes of transportation to work are as varied as those of other employees if not more so.

Myth: Accommodating workers with disabilities is expensive.
Reality: Most workers with disabilities require no special accommodations and the cost for those who do is minimal. Also, keep in mind that it’s not just employees with disabilities who require accommodations.

Myth: Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than employees without.
Reality: Studies show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.

Myth: Saying the wrong thing in the workplace will offend employees with disabilities.
Reality: Simple etiquette and being aware of “people first” language can avoid relationship barriers in the workplace.

These are just a few of the myths around but some of the ones I have come across a lot in my job. I leave you with this thought from Debra Ruh, chief marketing officer for SSB BART Group.

“For a person with a disability, life is a puzzle. To get through your daily life, you have to solve puzzles every single step of the way. Don’t you want these really creative problem solvers working for you?”

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