WNA Blog

Tue 23 Jul 2019

Disability – Get on with it!

Customer Service & Relations
Why is it in today’s Australia, where Government statistics classify 1 in 5 people as disabled, we still struggle with the basic issues.

I’m physically disabled. I don’t normally bother about it but every so often I’ll read or see something which really “gets my goat!”. Why is it in today’s Australia, where Government statistics classify 1 in 5 people as disabled, we still struggle with the basic issues.

I’ve been lucky (and worked hard) to have a successful career, now managing my own training business. So why do people still think they have to look after me?

Let me give you a couple of examples. I booked a room at a hotel and upon my arrival at check-in they appeared to be having trouble. When I asked, the clerk said she was trying to rearrange the booking to provide me with an adapted room. When I commented that I had made the booking because I wanted a standard room. She found it difficult to comprehend that perhaps I knew what I was doing.

I was wheeling along with my husband and son, who were ahead of me. There was a slight incline upwards, but I was totally in control. A gentleman walked up behind me and started pushing the wheelchair, commenting on how rude my husband and son were for not helping me. I stopped the chair and said thank you but perhaps in future it would have been polite of him to ask permission before he touched me and perhaps my family know me better.

Am I asking too much? Would you behave like this to a “normal” person? Why do people always think they know better? I can understand that people care and want to help but rather than make assumptions, why don’t you ask!

I was reading some WNA blogs which I really enjoy. Occasionally I read one that I totally disagree with. A guest blogger wrote about Workplace Accessibility. This article claimed that training is the key to accessibility. That staff need training to relate to the disabled person and the disabled person needs training for…. I’m not really sure what. How to make a simple issue complex and over thought. The only training everyone needs is Respect. I’m sure there may need to be some detailed training for specific issues but surely in today’s world, disabled people are not aliens from a different planet. Yes, there may need to be some flexibility in the workplace, but again why does this need to be made into a big issue? Every time you disrupt or make exceptions in a workplace, you reduce the chances of a disabled person being employed.

Stop putting barriers in the way. If statistics are correct you will be disabled one day, so how would you like to be treated? The old adage “treat everyone as you would like to be treated” is so true. Manners, Respect, Flexibility and Normality is the only true training you require.

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