A picture is worth a thousand words. And so is a real-life experience. Seeing how disability inclusiveness strategies play out in real life in organizations is a very valuable way to determine the fit of particular strategies in the culture and climate of your organization. To make the most of your visit, go prepared with the main questions and concerns you have about implementing disability inclusiveness practices in your organization. Find out about the challenges this organization faced as they implemented their strategies. How did they meet these challenges? Finally, don’t forget the most important question: How has their organization benefited as a result of adopting these strategies? To find out more about best practice organizations, go to the US Business Leadership Network brief, Leading Practices on Disability Inclusion at http://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/reports/Disability_final_v2.pdf.
As you move along this online tutorial, you have responded to sets of questions to assess your own organizational readiness for disability inclusiveness. This is one assessment tool you can use to understand where your organization currently stands in terms of your disability inclusiveness and illuminate paths for possible strategies. Other options for assessment may include interviewing key players in your organization to determine the “barriers” (factors that stand in the way of disability inclusiveness) and “carriers” (factors that enable disability inclusiveness). These interviews could be with key individuals or in a group setting, in the form of a focus group.
Sometimes, barriers to disability inclusiveness are not easy to pinpoint. Most people are not intentionally mean-spirited or bigoted toward people with disabilities. But when hiring managers may be under demanding productivity pressures, they may be risk averse in hiring or promoting anyone “different.” And, their automatic assumptions and lowered expectations about the productivity and performance potential of someone with a disability may stand in the way of their ability to make a balanced judgment or to get the resources needed to find reasonable accommodations.