Hi there, my name is Curtis. I have just completed my masters at the University of Plymouth and I am in the process of setting up a disability enabling network. In terms of barriers to employment, I have observed the presence of attitude barriers and a taboo surrounding disability. People often lack understanding of what is needed to fix the problem, particularly in the context of education and employment. There is a need for discussion and dialogue to understand the needs of individuals with disabilities and how best to accommodate those needs.
From a young age, I have been aware that certain career paths, such as bricklaying, are not viable options for me due to my disability. As a result, I have had to work hard to obtain my degrees and qualifications. However, my wheelchair has given me a unique set of characteristics that allow me to tackle challenges in the workplace. Despite facing chronic pain, I know that I can do any work that is set for me because it is not as hard as dealing with the challenges I face on a daily basis.
In the workplace, I have noticed that people often make assumptions about my abilities based on my disability. Some individuals will speak to me in a condescending manner or raise their voice, assuming that I do not understand what they are saying.
This judgmental behavior is unwarranted, as I am fully capable of having a conversation and have achieved two degrees. The key is to approach people with disabilities in a way that meets their individual needs, rather than making assumptions without discussion.