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Why It's Important to Show Empathy to Disabled Workers

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, 18.7 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In my opinion, this is a very low number. I believe a lot of this has to do with how disabled individuals are regarded by customers and co-workers alike. Whether a person has a physical or invisible disability, many still desire to hold a job as this allows them to feel like a productive member of society. I believe if an individual has these desires, they should be given the resources to see them to fruition.

One way to help make employment a tangible goal for individuals with disabilities could be the creation of training and job inclusion programs. The training could be beneficial not just for those seeking employment, but can also focus on sensitivity training for co-workers. Education brings awareness and eliminates unanswered questions that can sometimes make people come across as stand-offish. Topics of the training could include the extra resources and time that should be granted to accommodate specific individuals, that all individuals need to be treated equally and how to form better relationships.

Research and education can help employers be more open to the idea of hiring those with disabilities and seeing the benefits they can gain from doing so. This systemic change could have positive effects on the workforce as well as supporting caretakers of individuals with disabilities as they are providing an opportunity for these individuals to become self-supporting. It can help parents of young adults with disabilities feel good knowing an opportunity was created versus needing to create opportunities themselves. Opportunities such as these can help people to feel driven, focused and valued.

I believe empathy and compassion can carry us a long way. If disabled individuals are more active in the community, it can encourage society to acknowledge us as a valued part of their community.

Getty photo by Image Source.

Originally published: January 2, 2019
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