Navigating the world with an invisible disability; will business lead the way?

Travelling with a disability takes guts.  It also takes determination.  Throw in problem solving skills.  Organisational skills.  The ability to speak out and up for yourself.  Add a fair pinch of faith too.  It’s no wonder disabled people develop such strengths in these areas!  You plan each trip with military precision.  You become an expert on companies to avoid and those that you can trust.  You learn to be more flexible abPicture shows a green lanyard with a sunflower designout the time it might take.  And you develop grit.

But what about when you have an invisible disability?  Or when you’re supporting a loved one who does?  You might look the same as everyone else on the outside.  Your needs will be less obvious.  And even less likely to be understood.  Asking for help is problematic.  Barriers are less likely to be physical.  But they exist all the same.

Autism and Dementia are probably the most well-known invisible disabilities.  And too often they come hand in hand with isolation.  How do you access the same opportunities as everyone else if you experience the world in a different way?  Sadly, the answer is that many people simply don’t.  The stares, the difficulties, the barriers… They become too hard to negotiate.  Thankfully, forward thinking organisations are beginning to take steps to tackle this.

In 2015, the aviation industry led the way with lanyards! The OCS Group introduced the lanyards for travellers with invisible disabilities. The sunflower design acts as a discreet sign, signalling to staff that awareness and assistance might be needed. This simple aid enables travellers to communicate their needs without drawing unwelcome attention. And shows disabled customers that inclusion is a priority.

Since the success of the initiative, others have followed aviation’s good example. Sainsbury’s has since become the first supermarket to trial the use of the lanyards in stores. And the success of the initial scheme has led to 40 further roll outs in their stores across the UK.  The rise of autism hours in both stores and entertainment venues has increased.

Demand is there. Business is becoming more aware of the value of the purple pound. Can your organisation afford to shrug and leave disability inclusion at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list?

To tell us all about your inclusion initiatives drop me a line on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/cassandraleese/

To find out more and show disabled people you’re an inclusive employer of choice go to www.evenbreak.co.uk

 

What a difference an (accessible) day makes…

Do you have small children? Enjoy traditions? Or are you simply a fan of slapstick comedy and innuendo? If so, you might well have found yourself attending your local pantomime this holiday. I am not a lover of pantomime. But I have a child who is. And so, I have seen two this year. Parenting brownie points for the whole year, I think.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to attend the relaxed performance of Sleeping Beauty. It was performed at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry. And it showed me what accessibility looks like, done well. 

The first hurdle is the sweetest…

Despite being a Midlands lass, I hate the Coventry ring road with a passion. It remains one of the most bizarre driving experiences in Warwickshire to me. But when I looked up directions on the Belgrade website I found a video! Some kind (brave) soul had volunteered to drive it, be filmed, and talk us through the chaos! It couldn’t have cost much to produce. It wouldn’t have taken much time to film. But it made our visit far, far easier.
On arrival, the signposting was clear and easy to spot. In the foyer were a team of volunteers, there to help. They wore purple sparkly hats (which got them extra brownie points). Midland Mencap supported nine families in need with free tickets for the show. And they were there in person to hand them out with a smile.
Picture shows twiddle muffs in a variety of colours and patterns

Low-cost colouring pencils = happy children, happy parents

Colouring pencils and paper dotted side tables, keeping children occupied. Volunteers from Coventry Building Society offered help if needed. And they carried baskets full of sensory fidget toys for use throughout the performance. Beautiful twiddle muffs were there for those in need,  knitted by volunteers.

The theatre itself is fully wheelchair accessible. The lights were dimmed (not fully). Small changes were made to sound effects. And any special effects were explained at the start. The performance was captioned. As are all Belgrade productions.
 
If that wasn’t enough… The theatre also offered a familiarisation visit if needed. And provided a small library of social story downloads! The cast was diverse. The audience was diverse. And for a few hours, I got a glimpse into the impact inclusion has on a community. More of it please world!
To learn more about our best practice portal for ALL your employees or to advertise jobs with us, contact info@evenbreak.co.uk or visit www.evenbreak.co.uk

“I want to be an inclusive employer and recruit disabled people BUT…”

Stop making excuses, start making changes – handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee

Savvy employers are very aware there’s a skills shortage. They’re aware they need a wider talent pool to recruit from. And they’re aware that a diverse workforce is a good thing for business. So, what holds employers back from taking action? Changing the way they recruit? Tapping into new pools of talent?

Here are 3 of the excuses reasons we hear most often:

“So, I get that we’re missing out on 20% possible candidates. I get that employing disabled people equals profit. But how can someone in a wheelchair wait on tables?”

When a decision maker is presented with a new idea or a challenge to the ‘norm’, it is human nature to become risk averse. It’s rare for people to immediately see the possibilities being offered. Instead, most of us will come up with immediate, often flimsy, reasons as to why something won’t work. We are instinctive fault finders! Julia Galef, of the Center for Applied Rationality, suggests our brains are lazy. She argues that you should never accept your brain’s first answer to anything.  And encourages decision makers to move past the initial ‘cognitive laziness’. Instead, take some time to develop a more considered or rational response.

1 in 6 of the working age population is disabled or has a long-term health condition. That’s an awful lot of people to ignore. And only 8% of disabled people in the UK are wheelchair users. Disabled people, like the rest of the population, are a diverse bunch of people with a diverse bunch of skills. Candidates will apply for jobs that they are able to do. Occasionally, candidates might need some adjustments. But most disabled candidates don’t require any. Or only adjustments with no cost attached. And for adjustments that do have a financial cost attached, the cost is usually very low. Access to work can help with any issues that arise. Accessibility and inclusion should be considered in an organisation regardless. It’s worth remembering that both benefit not just employees, but your customers too.

“We would love to employ more disabled people, but they just don’t apply”

Most employers describe themselves as equal opportunity employers. But this information is often found at the bottom of the job advert as a tacked-on paragraph to the main affair.  No employer writes that they discriminate on a daily basis against disabled people. But sadly, the experience of disabled candidates tells us otherwise. Disabled people face many barriers. It begins with attitudes and perceptions, followed by inaccessible recruitment processes. And can culminate in a lack of accessibility in the workplace itself.

Many disabled candidates will only apply if they are confident of two things: Firstly, that their application will be considered seriously. Secondly, that they are sure they can fulfil the requirements of the role.  To attract a diverse range of applicants, employers need to communicate their commitment to inclusion effectively.

“We understand that by ignoring the needs of disabled people our business is losing money and we want to become more inclusive, but we’re scared of getting it wrong”

It’s estimated that by ignoring the needs of disabled people, businesses are losing approximately £1.8 billion a month. Employing disabled people helps an organisation to increase its understanding of this market. Additionally, it raises disability awareness and develops a more inclusive culture in the workplace. Businesses that embrace inclusion tend to see a positive correlation between profitability, employee morale and engagement.  The fear of using the ‘wrong’ terminology, offending somebody or making incorrect assumptions is understandable. And many of us will get things wrong. But we learn. And develop. And then the magic happens! Once a company overcomes their fear and starts seeing disabled employees as an asset, they open the doors to:

  • Access to a wider talent pool
  • A more loyal, engaged and productive workforce
  • An increase in revenue, profits and market share

 

To talk through your excuses  reasons for not employing disabled people, sign up to our best practice portal or advertise on our jobs board, please contact Janeh@evenbreak.co.uk

We promise she doesn’t bite.

 

 

Want a welcoming workplace?  Accessibility isn’t just about the physical building.

 

Here are 5 things you can do to make your workplace more accessible for disabled visitors.

I love to travel and visit new people and places. Planning, not so much. When I am well, travel is my favourite past time. I rarely plan. When I am unwell, it becomes overwhelming and planning is essential. For most disabled people, planning is not a choice. The outcome of a visit often depends on three things: The quality and depth of information available. The accessibility of the destination. And the welcome you receive. Here’s how to become part of the solution:

 

1) Check the ‘how to find us’ information on your organisation’s website.

Does it give simple, explicit instructions for all types of travel? Does it include a direct telephone number to call for directions if lost? Does it tell the visitor how accessible your workplace is? Every tourism destination should have an accessibility guide. A quick google of a few local venues shows access information on all. Why don’t businesses do the same? Disabled people work too! For a quick and easy win, take a photograph of the entrance to your organisation’s building.  Add it to the ‘how to find us’ page of your website. It will make life easier for everyone that visits.

2) Review your signage.

Any community nurse, paramedic or postman, will tell you how bad we Brits are at showing people how to find us. Subtle, signage that blends into the building might be appealing, but it won’t help your visitors find you. Consider making life easier with signage that is clear and visible from a distance and fitted in an appropriate place. If that isn’t possible then a photograph of your organisation’s building becomes even more important.

3) Consider asking your visitor if they have any additional needs before they visit.

Having an open conversation about a disability is hard for many people.  So much so, that many people avoid the subject altogether. But it can make all the difference for a disabled visitor.  It’s completely reasonable to ask if a person has any additional needs.  And it is completely reasonable for a disabled person to choose whether to disclose those needs. But choice is everything. Click here to learn more about disability etiquette.

4) Are your staff disability aware?

Esi Hardy, MD of Celebrating Disability, talked to me about the importance of a culture of inclusion in the workplace: “You can implement all the right tools, policies and procedures to make disabled customers feel welcome in your business, but your staff are quite often the first port of call. If they don’t have the right attitude or don’t understand disability, all your efforts will go to waste. Embedding a culture of inclusion supports your staff to understand what is expected of them in terms of empathy, diversity, tolerance and acceptance”.  Effective diversity training empowers staff and experience tells us that companies that value an inclusive culture are a better experience for everyone, employees and customers alike.

5) How accessible is your website?

Everyone values an easy to navigate website. Interestingly, websites that are made accessible for people with sight impairment or issues with manual dexterity are far easier for everyone to use. Basic tools such as Alt Tags, that allow screen readers to read a picture on the screen, will enable a blind or partially sighted person to experience what you are trying to show them. And it’s not just users. Search engines prefer them too! Designing for accessibility is just good business. To find out more about making your service accessible, click here.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

And to find out more about best practice around disability in the workplace take a peek here

 

Anxiety and Accessibility – Is your workplace welcoming?

The words accessibility and workplace usually bring one image to mind: A visibly disabled person, in a wheelchair, trying to access a building. Ramps. Lifts. Revolving doors. For many disabled people, just getting to a venue takes careful planning.  But accessibility comes in many forms.  And can impact upon many conditions.

I went to a meet a new client in the centre of Birmingham last week. I knew I might have problems sleeping the night before. I knew I’d be nervous. I knew it would be a challenge. But it didn’t occur to me to troubleshoot potential obstacles before going. Not in enough detail.

I checked the train times in advance. I checked the address in advance. I bought tickets in advance. I picked my clothes in advance. Small things that can help manage anxiety.

But on the day, it was scorching hot. I’d only had a couple of hours sleep. 15 minutes from station to venue wasn’t enough time for me to find the place easily. I got lost. I panicked. I got hotter. Birmingham seemed very, very, busy and the buildings very, very, tall.

Anxiety can affect basic functioning…

Everyone looked too busy to stop and ask for directions. And the buildings weren’t clearly marked. Google maps kept kicking me out of walking directions and decided to stick me in a car instead. I stopped people and asked for help but three people later, I was still lost. I rang the receptionist and asked for directions but had to be transferred to another receptionist first. It got later. I panicked a bit more. I didn’t understand the directions. And I didn’t want to be late. Anxiety was clouding comprehension.

The client rang and asked if all was well. I admitted I was lost and rather stressed. She was calm and kind and directed me into the building. I was two minutes away! But in my panic, I hadn’t remembered the first line of the address and had walked past the building numerous times.

Mental health conditions can take something very simple and make it incredibly hard. Memory, concentration, breathing, the ability to control your body temperature. All are affected. I am an able-bodied person and I can physically travel anywhere very easily. Except I can’t. Sometimes, if the week has held many stressors, the mental obstacles are hard to overcome.

When I approached the building it was huge, glass, with a revolving door. No clear signposting. There was a security guard rather than the reception desk I expected.  When I arrived at the reception there were multiple instructions about how to get through security barriers and how to programme the lift. People to interact with. More challenges.

What can help?

But then, I got out of the lift and everything changed. The client met me at the second reception point, so I didn’t have to be directed again. She asked me if I’d like a comfort break first. I welcomed the opportunity to run cold water on my wrists to calm myself down. She led me to an office, offered me water and from the very first second I met her, to the very last second when I left, did everything she could to make me comfortable and at ease.

We had a successful meeting and she gave me clear directions back to the station. I got home easily with not one issue.  On my return, I realised that I have a disability. Internal and external factors affect how well I function. The client, in turn, had reflected upon the corporate environment that she felt so comfortable in. She asked me how could she have made my visit easier? In truth, she absolutely did make it easier. Had I been greeted with a less aware, less professional, or less compassionate person, the outcome could have been very different.

Next week I’ll be writing about how to make your workplace more accessible to those with a mental health condition.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak click here

To find jobs on Evenbreak click here

And to find out more about best practice around disability in the workplace take a peek here

 

5 Tips to Make Your Job Adverts More Inclusive

Here at Evenbreak, we talk about diversity, inclusivity and overcoming barriers daily.  But how do employers keep disability awareness up front? Writing a job advert that appeals to disabled candidates is a great place to start! Employing disabled people means your workforce is far more likely to gain insight and understanding.  It’s far more likely to talk openly about disability and far more likely to challenge the status quo. It also brings huge business benefits to the company (but that’s another blog and indeed a book!).

Here’s how to write a job ad that appeals:

1. Make it clear from the offset that YOUR company commits to equality.

Disabled candidates have already had to overcome many challenges. They often face discrimination daily. They are less likely to engage with companies that only pay lip service to equality. The paragraph that begins “We are an equal opportunities employer…” is often dropped at the end of a job ad.  Does anyone ever utter a ‘yippee’ at seeing this included? Does anyone ever read to the end of the job ad? A study by TheLadders, found that job seekers spend an average of 49.7 seconds reading a job advert before deciding whether it was a fit. Instead, please shout out about your inclusive culture at the top of the job ad. Talk to job seekers in a human voice about the changes your company has made to make sure they are open to all. Tell us about your culture and any initiatives you’ve launched. Add a bit of personality – this is your chance to sparkle! For tips on writing in a human voice, have a peek at what Founder of Human Workplace Liz Ryan has to say on the subject.

2. Avoid the never-ending list of bullet pointed job responsibilities.

It’s understandable that recruiting managers have a long list in mind of skills they’d like for each role. But this approach can at best, turn off brilliant candidates. At worst, it makes companies look delusional, if the list of wants doesn’t tally up with the benefits offered.  Disabled candidates are very unlikely to apply for jobs they don’t believe they’re qualified for. If anything, candidates are usually overqualified.  One study found more than half of disabled people have applied for jobs they know they are overqualified for. Instead of listing ‘employer wants’ for a role, consider listing only the essential ‘employer needs’. Use the extra word count to market your company to candidates. To receive three times as many applications and attract a better quality of candidate write a job ad that focuses on candidate needs. Not employers.

3. Tell candidates what you do differently and how you work smart.

Smart companies have fast cottoned on to the benefits of flexible working. With today’s technology there’s no need to commute an hour, to sit at a desk to work, to commute another hour home. Agile working is one of the smart working initiatives used by savvy employers to add value to their workforce.

Some benefits to employers include:

  • access to a more diverse talent pool
  • reduced attrition
  • increased productivity

Some benefits to employees include:

  • opportunities for disabled candidates
  • a better quality of life
  • reduced travel costs
  • increased time spent with family

By embracing smart working you’ll be able to attract a greater number of disabled candidates and a larger pool of talent.  Not convinced about smart working? Why not try it for a day and sign up to the Smarter Working Initiative.

4. Be mindful of the language you use.

Job ads often come peppered with industry specific jargon.  Acronyms and corporate buzz words like “KPI,” “onboarding”, “ITIL”, “compliance” are off putting.  These can not only send your job seeker to sleep (the acronym KPI has the same impact on me as a strong sedative); But also alienate potential candidates unfamiliar with your company’s lingo. Instead, use straightforward language. Tell candidates more about the potential career pathway offered. What does the job entail day to day? What is your company’s mission? What skills might your ideal candidate have?

5. Make it clear you judge candidates only on how well they fit the job criteria.

More and more businesses are signing up to become Disability Confident Employers. The scheme helps people identify those employers committed to equality in the workplace. Disabled candidates look for employers with good recruitment policies.  If your company:

  • is a Disability Confident Employer
  • offers a guaranteed interview scheme
  • uses disabled jobs boards such as Evenbreak

Then make sure this is obvious across your job ads, social media and marketing materials.  Tell candidates about what makes you great, they’re keen to find you!

We learn daily from Evenbreak candidates and the Employers that advertise with us.  Please tell us what turns you off about job ads and what makes you want to apply?

Cassandra Leese, Employer Engagement Manager, Evenbreak

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

What Problems do Dyslexic People Face in the Legal Professions?

Just a few short decades ago hardly anyone had heard of dyslexia and children who had the learning disability were left to struggle and were often told they were lazy or stupid.

Now, thankfully, we know a lot better and most dyslexic children and students are identified and given help so that they can access all of their educational opportunities. There are, however, still some fields that can seem intimidating or impossible to people with dyslexia and law is one of them.

Dyslexia affects the way people process information 

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability, alongside dyspraxia, attention deficit disorder and dyscalculia. The person’s IQ is often within normal range or higher, but the learning disability affects the way in which they retain, process and access information. It’s a neurological issue so it can’t be cured and it can seriously affect the way dyslexic people read, write, recall information and speak.

Under the Equality Act 2010. Dyslexia is a protected characteristic, which means that anyone with dyslexia can’t be treated less favourably than someone without it. It also means that they should have reasonable adjustments made for them at work, even legal professionals, whether they work in a specialist practice like Kenway Miller or a barristers’ chambers.

Dyslexic legal professionals face special challenges  

Each dyslexic person has their own unique profile of strengths and weaknesses, but within the legal profession, many will find they face these challenges in particular.

Other people’s prejudices 

This is by far the biggest challenge and it’s the hardest to overcome because it involves convincing pretty much everyone that dyslexia is both real and isn’t a sign of low intelligence. As the disability affects everyone differently, one person may be a fast reader but a slow writer, another may have difficulty with speaking fluently and yet another may have organisational problems.

Forms are tough

People with dyslexia find filling in forms difficult so any electronic documents that have a time-out can present problems. Dyslexic students can fail exams because of poor spelling and punctuation and when it comes to sending out CVs, lower-than-average exam grades can lead to the candidate being binned without the wider circumstances being taken into account.

People with dyslexia tend to fail psychometric tests

Any tests with multiple choice questions can be tough on dyslexic people as they find them hard to process. Some verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning problems can be difficult too, because they don’t allow for the person to use their usual coping mechanisms. This is why legal HR teams need to use specialised or fairer assessment processes for dyslexic people.

Two-part questions can fox people with dyslexia

As dyslexia is primarily an information-processing issue, complicated questions with two or more parts can prove to be too much as there’s a lot of information for the person’s working memory. Long sentences – a big feature in law – can also take longer to “work through”.

Organisational problems 

This is perhaps the second-biggest issue because legal professionals are expected to be very organised and punctual. Law firms have set expectations here and failure to meet them can lead to disciplinary action if the individual doesn’t know about or doesn’t admit to their dyslexia. Legal firms’ HR departments should be able to recognise common dyslexic-type errors and problems and make reasonable adjustments before the situation deteriorates. This could be encouraging the person to “come out” as dyslexic or even offering them testing and help.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

How The Parcel Delivery Industry Is Becoming More Accessible

Having been at the forefront of industry discussions for quite some time now and the question we need to ask today is what industries are doing to improve and whether or not it’s quite good enough. The parcel delivery industry, in particular, is one that has a lot of potentialto improve. From increasing the availability of disabled-friendly positionsto creating accessibility for customers, the industry is already working to improve – but how? In this piece, we’re taking a look at the parcel delivery industry and just how it’s becoming more accessible.

The Industry As A Whole

On a consumer level, the sending and receiving of parcels is a fairly accessible process. From door-to-door services that prevent the need to reach a post office, to the ability to get quotes for cheap courier services online with minimal fuss, parcel delivery on a consumer level is well on its way to becoming fully accessible. On an employment level, however, things are a little more difficult. While help is available from programmes like Access to Work, general accessibility really depends on the company a person is looking to work for and the job role they want to fill.

Access To Work

Access to Work is a government-run service that currently aids over 28,000 people in the UK. This service was created to be put on offer through Jobcentre Plus and every day aids disabled staff in accessing new and existing jobs and this, of course, stretches to the parcel delivery industry. Through this service, those looking for work or starting a new job or activity within their job can seek advice and information that might help them to overcome difficulties that they might potentially face. Those looking for help in gaining a job or starting a job in the parcel delivery can contact them through the official government website and could even be entitled to monetary grants as aid.

The Royal Mail

The Royal Mail is the central mail service for the UK and has been working hard to make accessibility possible for current and potential disabled employees. Through a partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, they are building up a national team dedicated to helping local managers with opening up Royal Mail workplaces to disabled applicants. In fact, they’re even offering cover of up to £1,000 to managers for any additions or adaptations that need to be made in order to adjust for disabled workers. While this is just one company among the many, they have the potential to drive an ongoing improvement process for couriers and alternate delivery services too.

The parcel delivery industry is one that could benefit greatly from improvements in the future, but one that is already working to become much more accessible to workers across the UK. From Access to Work help, to the Royal Mail Group’s support for its managers in their journey to full accessibility for potential and current workers, the industry has made a good starting point. With the likes of automation, artificial intelligence and other technological innovation starting to sweep across in the industry, accessibility and ease of use across multiple levels of the supply chain are only set to improve further, so watch this space!

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Accessible City Breaks

With over 11 million disabled people in the UK cities are becoming ever more accessible for those with limited mobility. In a study by the Papworth Trust it was found that 57% of those with a disability in the UK struggle with mobility.

Therefore, Easypay Mobility have decided to look at the most accessible cities in the UK and give some advice about how to make the most of a city break if you have a disability.

Chester

Chester is a fantastic place for those in wheelchairs or mobility scooters to visit. This small city has a population of 77,000 and was chosen as the most accessible city in Europe in 2017.

Chester Station offers level access with doors of at least 320cm wide to make sure those in wheelchairs can easily get in and out of the station. Out in the streets, all of Chester’s elevated walkways, public buses and taxis are wheelchair accessible.

If you’re looking for something to do while you are there, Chester Zoo is fully accessible and has advice for autistic and visually impaired visitors.

London

Over recent years a lot has been done to make the busy London streets more accessible. All London black cabs are wheelchair accessible, as are London buses. At train and tube stations throughout London you can request passenger assist twenty-four hours in advance.

The British Museum is wheelchair friendly with a level entrance, as is Madame Tussauds although as the museum can only accept up to three wheelchair visitors at a time it is essential to book a slot online.

Glasgow

Glasgow doesn’t have as many wheelchair accessible transport options but can still be a great place to visit for anyone in a wheelchair or mobility scooter. ScotRail allow users to book assistance three hours in advance, meaning greater flexibility for passengers who need help getting on trains.

City sightseeing buses offer tours which are fully accessible however the subway in Glasgow isn’t accessible to wheelchair users unless they are able to get out of their chair and fold it down while travelling at certain stations. Luckily, ScotRail do promise to pay for taxis or any disabled passengers who need to access the locations which can’t be accessed via the subway.

Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a brilliant museum for visitors to the city. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible, there is a hearing loop in place and there is in-depth information about accessibility on their website.

Edinburgh

Despite its hills, Edinburgh is a great city for those with mobility issues to visit. Waverley Station has step free entrances and lifts to access platforms. The tram which runs through sections of Edinburgh is wheelchair accessible at all stations and offers fantastic access to many of the main tourist attractions in the city.

The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art if a wonderful place to visit and is fully wheelchair accessible. For more info, you could visit simplyemma.com a blog written by a disabled blogger who reviews various holiday locations.

For more information, including a map of each location and top tips for travelling with a disability make sure to check out Easypay Mobilities infographic now.

To advertise jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/employers/

To find jobs on Evenbreak go here – http://www.evenbreak.co.uk/jobs

Understanding The Advantages and Challenges of Online Language Education for Disabled People

Disability symbols

If you or a loved one is living with a disability, you already know that even the simplest activities that other people take for granted can be a struggle. Despite efforts to make everything more accessible to people of all abilities, we still have a long way to go.

The same goes for learning a new language online. Like its traditional counterpart of attending a class in a physical location, it’s still far from perfect.

Here, we will discuss the benefits and challenges of online language education, and how you should assess them based on your specific needs and circumstances.

What are your options for learning a new language online?

1.    Online Tutors

One of the most popular ways today on learning about basically anything is by availing of online tutorial services. Here, there is no defined curriculum so you can start on whatever you feel you’d use the most.

Of all the options, this is perhaps the most convenient because online education platforms like Preply lets you choose your tutor, set the price range, and the time. Because anyone from online French tutors to Bahasa Indonesia tutors is offering their services, it’s now possible for you to learn almost any major language.

2.    Virtual Classes

In many ways, it’s like your traditional classrooms but instead of going to school, you just log in online. Here, you’re not usually required to attend live classes.

For as long as you’re able to submit the requirements on time, you’re good to go. This is a great option for people who want some structure on how the lessons are arranged but don’t want to commit a specific timeslot regularly to the classes.

3.    Language Exchange

Aside from being absolutely free, language exchange comes with a lot of benefits. And unlike other options, there’s no set platform on where you can learn. What happens here is you look for someone who wants to learn your native tongue. Then in exchange, he teaches you his language for free.

When and how the two of you will conduct the lessons depend on your agreement. For those who simply need to be able to hold a decent conversation in another language, you may want to consider this.

4.    Self-study

If you’re not yet comfortable interacting with strangers, you can just self-study. There are a lot of online and print resources that you can use.

Although this is a great way to familiarize yourself with another language, it isn’t a standalone method. You’d still need help from a native speaker to fully converse in that language.

The Advantages

For people with physical impairments

Dealing with a physical disability sometimes means not being as mobile as you want to be. Because of online language education options you have now, you can learn even from the comforts of your home. You don’t have to rush from one class to another just to make it on time.

For people with hearing impairments

Technology makes learning a whole lot easier for people with hearing impairment. Instead of missing out on an opportunity to learn, you can simply enhance the sound quality, turn on the subtitles, or simply use chat instead of video.

For people with visual impairments

Walking around a campus would definitely be a chore if not impossible depending on how severe your case is. When attending online lectures or tutorial sessions, you can just rely on your ears instead to learn.

For people with mental health conditions

It may be hard for you to get out of your comfort zone, and because you can learn a language online, you don’t have to.

The convenience and flexibility online learning provides take much of the burden. It allows you to avoid your triggers and find calmness.

For people with learning disabilities

If you have a learning disability or difficulty such as dyslexia, you’d need more time to finish the same amount of work. For all the online language learning options we mentioned earlier, you can review the information for as many times as you need.

Thanks to advanced software and technology, it’s now also possible to manipulate digital text to make learning easier for people with visual processing disorder.

The Challenges

Despite the convenience technology offers, online language education still has a long way to go before it becomes all-inclusive. For as long as disabled people can’t access the same information as easily as others, the learning systems in place haven’t kept up with the changing landscape.

However, you can still argue that the playing field will never be the same. Even in a perfect world, disabled people may still have problems like the following:

  1. If you’re a hearing-impaired person, you may never be able to speak fluently.
  2. Learning how to write in different scripts like Mandarin would be exponentially hard if you’re suffering visual impairment.
  3. Given the modes we can use for online learning, people with some learning challenges would always struggle with learning online without anyone’s assistance.

Despite the challenges, we still believe that disabled people can succeed through online language education. Compared to traditional learning, this is a lot more comfortable and convenient for you. If you feel discouraged, remember that the qualities employers look for when considering disabled candidates are the same qualities that made you live a full life each day. Do you want to fast track your career in the translation industry? Enjoy all the benefits of education at the comfort of your home and start learning a new language now.

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