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National Disability Awareness Month highlights a need for greater inclusion of individuals with disabilities

Imagine having a vision impairment and using an electronic reader to “see” a website, and an image on a webpage just states “image” with no description of that image. Imagine being an individual with hearing loss and attending a workplace event using Zoom with no live captions or sign language interpretation. Imagine being an individual who uses a wheelchair and the printer in your building is in an inaccessible place. These are some of the workplace challenges faced by those who have disabilities.

During the month of October, we celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), to commemorate the many and varied contributions of people with disabilities in the workplace. The theme for 2021 is “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” which highlights the need to ensure that those with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the national recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Central Resource: Diversity and Access Office

On our campuses, faculty and staff—with visible and/or invisible disabilities—may encounter roadblocks that impact productivity, present challenges, or impact a feeling of being a valued member of our community. A central resource for all members of our community is the Diversity and Access Office. Their office, part of the Institutional Equity & Access department (which includes the Ombuds and the SHARE Title IX office), ensures institutional compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and provides services and resources to ensure equal access and opportunities to community members with disabilities. The office addresses bias and discrimination, and can assist with exploring workplace accommodations. In short, they provide guidance and resources that can help make Stanford a more inclusive community. Contact them with questions or consultation requests: disability.access@stanford.edu.

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Our vision for bolstering diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace includes improving our collective experience, to help ALL of us feel included and a sense of belonging. Increasing our awareness of some of the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, and overcoming biases we may have, is part of our journey together.

 

View eight myths about individuals with disabilities