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    "How To Be An Ally": People With Disabilities And Disability Advocates Are Sharing How We Can Make Work More Inclusive

    "Disabled isn't a bad word. We're not differently abled, special needs, disAbled, or any other euphemism that makes you less uncomfortable."

    People with disabilities can face a variety of challenges in workplaces that aren't designed for them, but accommodations and awareness can make a huge difference. October was Disability Employment Awareness Month, but we should all work year-round to make sure our workplaces are safe, accessible, and anti-ableist.

    people putting their hands together in an office

    At the same time, disability is in the headlines as people discuss Lt. Governor John Fetterman's performance in Pennsylvania's Senate debate — and frankly, the discussion around this shows how far we still have to go in understanding and accommodating disability. Disability advocates argue that Fetterman's use of closed captions should be no more controversial than other accommodations like wearing glasses, but this conversation has exposed some uncomfortable biases that people carry around disability.

    john fetterman speaking at a rally

    So how can we be better allies? Well, on LinkedIn, people with disabilities and disability advocates have been sharing steps we can all take to make every workplace accessible for all. Here's what they had to say:

    1. Marisa Hamamoto, a stroke survivor and founder of Infinite Flow Dance, shared her thoughts on how to be an ally to the disability community. "I am a stroke survivor with a couple of invisible disabilities. Disability is part of my identity, just like I am Japanese American, female, and a dancer. I’ve worked with thousands of disabled people through my work Infinite Flow Dance."

    2. Tiffany Yu, CEO of Diversability, shared her answer to the question How should my company recognize Disability Employment Awareness Month? Spoiler alert: It's gotta be year-round. Yu writes, "Hire disabled people. Pay them equitably. Hire more disabled people. Promote them."

    3. Morgan Baker, Games Accessibility Lead at EA, shared some etiquette tips for talking with Deaf and hard of hearing colleagues. "First and foremost, we are not one collective experience. Some people have residue hearing, others do not. Some use hearing devices, others can’t or choose not too. It’s not just a hearing 'medical' spectrum, but also derives from upbringing, culture, and personal experiences. So what can you do?"

    4. Zane Landin, Communications Specialist and DEIA Rights Advocate, shared how employers can make their hiring processes more inclusive. Landin writes, "The economic recovery from COVID highlighted the persistence of systemic ableism in the workforce, which existed long before the pandemic."

    while this month is a significant moment the main issue is that people with disabilities are rarely hired to begin with

    5. Ellie Middleton, an Autistic and ADHD Activist, shared some ways people can alter their communication to make their workplaces more equitable for autistic employees. Middleton writes, "Friendly reminder that acknowledging that someone is autistic and actually altering your behavior to accommodate them as a disabled person are two different things."

    6. And finally, Jody Allard, Content Design Director at Pinterest, shared some thoughts on the way we talk about disability. "Disabled isn't a bad word. We're not differently abled, special needs, disAbled, or any other euphemism that makes you less uncomfortable. 'People of all abilities' is the 'All Lives Matter' of disability equity. Don't use it unless your goal is to tell disabled people that NDEAM isn't about us."

    as we head into national disability employment awareness month a few things to keep in mind

    Do these posts resonate with you, and is there anything you would add? Share your thoughts on disability in employment and how we can be better allies in the comments!