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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raise your awareness
- Make a commitment to spend at least 30 minutes during October increase your understanding of individuals with disabilities. One resource is the new Disability Awareness: Resources for Learning webpage on the Diversity and Access Office website with links to movies, books and other resources to expand your awareness.
- Review guides on the Stanford Office of Digital Accessibility website to ensure inclusivity in your digital content. Simple actions, such as descriptive text for hyperlinks and images, can mean individuals with a vision impairment who use an electronic reader are able to easily access your online content. They offer open office hours to help you solve digital accessibility issues; just RSVP for a free consultation on their Accessibility Office Hours webpage.
- Are you a people manager? Review contents of Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.7: Requesting Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities.
Participate in events
- Attend any of the Stanford events being sponsored by various campus groups, including:
- Throughout the month: Stanford Recreation and Wellness are offering special classes and sessions at various facilities, such as Adaptive Equipment Demos, Aqua Fitness, and Sitting Volleyball. In addition, you can make an appointment for orientations to facilities and demonstrations of equipment. Visit the new Stanford Recreation and Wellness Inclusivity webpage for details.
- Weekly: Every 2nd and 4th Monday and 1st and 3rd Wednesday, the Disability Staff Forum hosts a Return to on-campus Support Group from 12-1 p.m.
- October 13, 12-1 p.m.: "Delivering Accessible and Inclusive Virtual Meetings Workshop," presented by the Stanford Office of Digital Accessibility.
- October 14, 5:30 p.m.: “Alone in the Ring” is a research-based theatre production about disability in healthcare, sponsored by Stanford Medicine and the Muse.
- October 15-17, various times: Superfest Disability Film Fest. View the lineup of amazing films on the Superfest website.
- October 20, 5 p.m.: Stanford Disability in Medicine Alumni Panel, sponsored by Stanford Medicine Alumni Association.
- October 21, 1-2 p.m.: The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences hosts a session on broadening participation in field-based science through virtual field trips. Open to all; register online.
- October 26, 12-1 p.m.: "HEAL Network Faculty Fireside Chat: Health Equity Research in the Disability Community," sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity.
- October 27, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.: "Accessibility in Our Everyday Communications Workshop," presented by the Stanford Office of Digital Accessibility.
- October 27, 12-1 p.m.: Discussion of the Superfest Film Fest over lunch, hosted by the Disability Staff Forum. Email the organizer to join.
- October 27 & 28, 12-1 p.m.: Apple Accessibility Workshop, parts 1 & 2, sponsored by Equity and Strategic Programs in School of Medicine. Email the organizer to join.
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.