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  • Sam

International Day for People with Disabilities

Something of importance to me, and I’m sure many others- is celebrating the talents of disabled people. The theme for international day for people with disabilities this year is ‘not all disabilities are visible.’ As someone with a hidden disability myself, I very much welcome this and the opportunity to highlight the fact that some disabilities don’t have as much awareness raised about them as perhaps they should.

Living with a hidden disability presents extra challenges that can take a bit more effort and energy. For me, having Dyspraxia means I take longer to process and understand information I read or hear. And the overlap with Autism that exists for me means that I find it difficult to know the right thing to say at times or understand the best way to communicate in a given scenario. However, it’s also important to recognise that this may not be the same for all those diagnosed as having Dyspraxia or being on the Autistic spectrum. I get quite frustrated when I hear some say ‘oh you have Dyspraxia therefore you will have a problem with this or that’. We are all individual and Dyspraxia and Autism have specific impact on me that others may not experience.

I am incredibly grateful to have been connected with Enrych now since April 2021, and they have hugely increased my confidence across the board. The opportunities I have been given to just be me and be empowered to find out in my own way how I participate within the Team is what makes Enrych so special to me. This is something I feel very passionate about as I feel that most of the time, someone with a hidden disability does not get these same opportunities, or they may feel put off from the world of employment due to the obstacle I feel job applications and standard interview processes can present. .

A classic example of this are words such as “busy, fast paced, hectic environment.” I have spoken to many people in the community of individuals who have neurodivergent conditions such as Dyspraxia, Autism and ADHD and the consensus is that this type of terminology involved in job applications will put them off. Additionally, some of the terminology which employers use to motivate candidates to apply may have the opposite impact for those who are neurodivergent. We all know that workplaces can be busy but in general this just means there is a real opportunity to get involved and always have plenty to do – which we will want from our place of work.

Our vision at Enrych is to seek every way possible of removing the barriers to inclusivity for those with disabilities – even the simple ones that some may not even realise present barriers such as terminology in job adverts. That is why Enrych tailors the support it provides and the activities it offers to try and overcome any barriers.

In addition to our events, we have our Digital Empowerment programme which seeks to help those we support to become more confident to access technology which will increase their confidence and help them secure and retain work. On this international day for people with disabilities, we must use the opportunity to raise awareness of practical ways in which we can all remove barriers and help a disabled person find meaningful and sustainable employment and enjoy the full inclusivity they deserve. So let’s start by considering what terminology we use and how this might be interpreted by an individual with a disability.

One thing that Enrych have done to support myself and one of my colleagues, is encourage us to go through the Access to Work system so that we can access any further support we need. This is another reason why Enrych is the place to be! I had an assessment myself which included conversation about different type of mind-mapping and notetaking software that I could make use of in various contexts. Another thing that was mentioned as a further support mechanism is having someone who can help me to express my thoughts and make sure I have a full understanding of the things I’m doing.

Best of all, is that everyone is on the same page and I feel like I’m wholly looked after. Everyone at Enrych is invested in my overall development and I couldn’t be more thankful for the great work they have done. I feel appreciated and seen for who I want to be and feel confident that I can extend my strengths to help Enrych grow the same way they have helped me grow. The message to take away from this is for every organisation to take note of how Enrych take the time to understand people, those especially like myself who once felt extremely isolated and marginalised, and help them become confident and empowered individuals.

Enrych are the standard setters for inclusivity. My number one wish is for other organisations to become praise-worthy and make the world a much more pleasurable place to be for those living with a disability!

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