People with disabilities (PWDs) are a historically disadvantaged group. They're confronted with many practical difficulties and attitudinal barriers, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.
It's crucial that you're aware of these challenges when hiring them, so you can take steps to accommodate their needs.
Consider these six points when employing PWDs
#1: Keep in mind that an employee with a spinal cord injury (paraplegia or quadriplegia) may need to spend a lengthy time every day dealing with bowel evacuation routines and bladder care. A careful daily skin checking regimen is also needed to prevent pressure sores.
#2: Ensure that employees with psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder avoid sleep deprivation and undue stress to prevent relapses. They also need regular psychiatric check-ups to keep medication levels correct. These check-ups are generally scheduled during working hours.
#3: Keep in mind that an employee with diabetes can't go for long periods without eating. This will cause instability in blood sugar levels and could even put the employee at risk of a diabetic coma.
#4: Remember that if an amputee with an artificial leg (prosthesis) develops a sore on her stump, she may not be able to use her prosthesis for a while and will have to walk with crutches.
#5: Take into account that certain visual impairments allow for driving in daylight hours but not at night. This makes afterhours work and social events awkward and could even pose a danger to the employee.
#6: In addition, keep in mind that PWDs often experience disability-related financial challenges due to the cost of assistive devices, medications, home modifications and 'convenience services' like home grocery deliveries and online banking.
It's crucial that you create a disability-friendly workplace by considering these challenges. This approach is similar to family friendly work practices, where employers show sensitivity to the special needs of working parents.