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Reinventing support for people with disabilities: Disability History Month

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Delta Capita want to do everything we can to sustain employee success. This includes supporting people with disabilities.

UK Disability History Month will take place between 16 November and 16 December 2022. It was first marked in 2010 and now takes place every year to celebrate the history of the disability rights movement and the achievements of disabled people.

It aims to support the struggle for equality, which continues to this day, and argue for the rights people with disabilities are entitled to in law. Disability History Month also aims to fight oppression of disabled people and disablism, which is any behaviour based on the belief that disabled people are inferior to others.

A wide range of disability groups, unions and voluntary organisations support the Disability History Month; and there are similar observances in other countries, such as the US.

What is disability?

People view disability in different ways. Often, people think it refers to a physical impairment. But, under the UK Equality Act 2010, a person is classified as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to do everyday activities.

The disability rights movement

Historically, discrimination against people with disabilities was characterised by a perception of inferiority or unworthiness, and there was wide-ranging oppression of these people throughout societies and cultures. But these perceptions still linger today, and support for people with disabilities is often inadequate.

The disability rights movement is a global social movement that seeks to secure equal opportunities and rights for all people with disabilities. There are disability activists around the world, all working towards similar goals and demands. These include accessibility and safety in physical environments; equal opportunities in independent living; and employment equality.

Disability activists are working to break institutional, physical, and societal barriers preventing people with disabilities from living like other citizens. Disability rights are complex because a person with a disability can have their rights violated in multiple ways in different socio-political, cultural, and legal contexts.

One common barrier is employers being unwilling or unable to provide accommodations that enable people with disabilities to carry out their jobs effectively.

How to support colleagues

You can support your colleagues with disabilities by:

• learning about the history of disability

• explaining to your colleagues what Disability History Month is and why it’s important

• holding events and seminars to discuss disability-related topics

• focus on providing people with disabilities the support, accommodation and care they need – this includes conducting an access audit and consulting colleagues with disabilities to address any issues and barriers

• challenge disablist jokes, name-calling and ostracising people because they are different

• avoid judging the world by ableist standards, which means treating non-disabled people as the standard of normal living.

The Disability Discrimination Act

Also, make sure you understand and act on disability discrimination laws in your country. In the UK, following extensive activism by people with disabilities over several decades, the Disability Discrimination Act was passed in 1995. This made it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities about employment, provision of goods and services, education, and transport.

Support from Delta Capita

Delta Capita wants all our employees to feel included, regardless of their background, beliefs, or disability. Employees that feel supported feel happier, and have more sense of belonging and engagement at work.

Are you looking for a new workplace that values diversity and employee wellbeing? Check out our latest vacancies here.

Also find out how Delta Capita are reinventing the workplace through employee-centric projects at our Reinventing Hub.