At Stryker, we recognize that it is essential to promote and advance disability inclusion practices within our workplace, by doing so, we spark greater innovation, engagement, and productivity.
In the United States, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is celebrated throughout October. During this time, we celebrate the contributions to our workplaces, economy, and communities made by disabled individuals and recommit to promoting equal opportunities for all people.
To kick off the month, we asked some of our employees how they plan to commemorate, educate themselves and continue to push for equity among all abilities—both in and outside of work. Here’s what we heard.
1. Join or create an employee resource group focused on disability
If your workplace has an employee resource group, such as Allies for All Abilities (3A) consider joining. 3A is made up of employees whose mission is to make positive changes in the lives of employees, families, and communities with visible and invisible disabilities.
If your workplace doesn’t have an employee resource group dedicated to giving employees with disabilities, those who care for others with disabilities, and allies for disability inclusion a stronger platform for change, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a great time to work on creating one.
2. Review accessibility
Do you post on social media? Hold webinars? Manage a website? Double-check any content you create to ensure it is accessible as possible. Ways to do this include providing virtual attendance options, and sharing post-event recordings, including alt-text on images, and video captions.
Ensure your physical office and other places you conduct business are fully accessible and ADA-compliant.
3. Educational opportunities
There are a number of educational opportunities you can take part in during National Disability Employment Awareness Month. You could host an informational session, screen a documentary, start a book club, or invite a panel of speakers to present on disability inclusion – the options are limitless.
By offering disability awareness education opportunities, you help employees increase their understanding of people with disabilities, uncover any misconceptions, and learn tools to interact with individuals with differing abilities.
Education topics could include:
Visible and invisible disabilities
Tips for helping accessibility
Supporting caregivers of disabled individuals
4. Volunteer or support a charity
Want a great team-building activity? Spend time volunteering for organizations that help support disabled communities.
If volunteering isn’t an option, consider holding a fundraiser or making a direct donation to non-profits that support disability inclusion. Pro tip: Check to see if your employer offers donation matches.
5. Remember representation matters
There are currently approximately 1 billion people with disabilities in the world, yet people with disabilities are rarely shown in media, and when shown they’re often stereotyped. You can help change this narrative when creating visual materials by including people of differing abilities in your imagery; doing so continues to further promote further inclusion.
6. Continue bringing awareness to Disability Inclusion
With so much to learn and accomplish, why contain the advocacy to just a month? We hope you’ll be able to take ideas from this list and implement them into your daily lives—and continue to make a difference throughout the year!
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