Emma McKinney

In countries like South Africa we really need to work hard on changing perceptions of employers towards disability (swinging from hero-worshiping, through to blatant discrimination).  This is why I am so passionate about inclusive education as this is how I feel we can make system long-term change.

While disability sensitisation is important to create awareness and understanding about rights and responsibilities, it is vital that we consult and directly involve persons with disabilities from the recruitment, selection right through to retention. There cannot be a ‘one solution fits all’ approach.

There needs to be dialogue between employers and employees/candidates with disabilities “what can we do to support you? Do you require reasonable accommodations? etc.” rather than making assumptions that all people with X need Y. Many of us (people with disabilities) come up with creative solutions that many employers would never dream about as we are so used to thinking out of the box on a daily basis.

I also feel that we need to avoid stereotyping disability categories to specific jobs (blind = telephone operators/call centre agents etc.). This takes us back to the importance of inclusive education system where all children are valued as individuals rather than seen as “them” “those with disabilities” etc.  Sorry for my long ramble!