Training Your Staff on How to Support People with Disabilities

Posted on Friday, 10 July 2020 by Marissa Sapega

People with disabilities are just like everyone else, with various physical or cognitive differences. However, it may not be intuitive for your staff to support them without a little training. Seeing as how these individuals make incredible employees, have $8 trillion dollars (that’s not a typo) in discretionary spending, and deserve the respect you’d show anyone simply by virtue of being human, it’s a worthwhile effort to put forth. Here are some ways to start:

  1. Use “people first” language – Rather than defining a person by a trait (like a disability), use language that communicates this trait is just a part of who they are. For example, rather than saying “an autistic person” or “a disabled person,” use the terms “a person with autism” or a “person with a disability.”
  2. Learn how assistive technology worksVispero offers assorted training recordings that will help employees better understand what it’s like to use AT.
  3. Engage in professional training – The Paciello Group and our parent company, Vispero, both offer training options for etiquette for interacting with people with disabilities. Check out our TPG Tutor module on Disability Etiquette or learn more about Vispero’s training options.
  4. Create a training roadmap – This will define what people should know by role, when they should be trained, training formats, and how to measure learning results for ongoing optimization of the approach and content.
  5. Don’t make a one-size-fits-all plan – Identify the fields of practice that require some level of accessibility knowledge or skills and customize it based on requirements.
  6. Document your findings – Assess the overall corporate knowledge of accessibility and prepare a report.
  7. Perform a gap analysis – Correlate accessibility skills and knowledge with current resources, then organize the knowledge gaps by order of priority.
  8. Reference your corporate accessibility policy – Provide accessibility awareness training that includes details on your organization’s accessibility policy.
  9. Provide accessibility champions training – Elect individuals in your organization to help drive accessibility initiatives forward.
  10. Create training content – Compile topics and material for accessibility classes for your employees. In this content, make sure to use real accessibility examples specific to the organization.
  11. Publish a training calendar – If people are unable to attend, encourage them to study the materials independently or take advantage of recorded content.
  12. Create accessibility job aides – Employees can use them as mini-cheat sheets to jog their memory after training sessions and on an ongoing basis.
  13. Conduct accessibility training for all affected roles – While it’s important for everyone to have an idea of how to support people with disabilities, if there’s a constraint on time or resources, prioritize training individuals who are in an affected role.

Training your employees to support people with disabilities can help them perform the rest of their job duties as well; it’s all about putting people first. Moreover, it can tie into your corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives for even greater impact. The more your organization can excel at embracing diversity and inclusion, the greater your chances for success!

For help with planning or conducting your training initiatives, contact The Paciello Group today.

Read all content on our tribute to ADA 30.


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