Accommodating people with disabilities

Businesses across 21 different industries, including financial, technology and healthcare and insurance, contributed to the survey and represented Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, Aetna, Bank of America and Walgreens.“More and more companies are going beyond what they traditionally thought of as diversity,” says Helena Burger, president of AAPD.

“Now people with disabilities are getting a seat at the table.”The framework for accommodating and including people with disabilities throughout all facets of life began in 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in an effort to prevent discrimination and allow people with disabilities to live regular lives by providing reasonable accommodations.

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Businesses select a representative to answer a series of questions and provide proof, such as company websites, to back up their answers.

With the help of the Index, more companies are integrating online chat features for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, guide dogs for blind workers, internal company affinity groups, external recruitment efforts, hiring goals and retention and advancement policies for people with disabilities into the work place.

Yet there has been one area that has remained relatively unchanged: employment of people with disabilities.

23, an event that draws more than 1,200 business leaders annually from around the country that are working to develop strategies to further include people with disabilities into the workforce.“They companies aren’t participating in the Index to be nice,” Houghton says.

People with disabilities are often disregarded by hiring managers who bring their own personal biases into the hiring process, says Ted Kennedy Jr., board chair of the AAPD.

The biggest roadblock, it seems, is the perception that people with disabilities simply can’t do the job, or it will cost too much to accommodate them.“As wonderful as the ADA is, it’s hard to legislate attitudes,” Berger says.

Here are additional classroom ideas for accommodating students with significant special needs: Use visual cues to orient student in the classroom (Volmer, 1995).

Children with developmental disabilities can be much more independent when they have strong visual cues to guide them through the physical space of the classroom.

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