Disability is common in our post-secondary institutions and it’s important that we have an understanding of what it means. Disability is a complex and continually evolving concept that covers a range of different conditions, and there is no single, all-encompassing definition. Disability typically means someone experiences physical, mental or sensory barriers that impact their day to day life. Having a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t do a job, it just means that you might do the job differently. When we are able to see disability as the opportunity to remove barriers, everyone will benefit.
Disability is not static or linear; it can be:
According to research by the David C. Onley Initiative:
People with disabilities represent a significant portion of our population. They include students in our post-secondary institutions and our current and future workforce. A large percentage of those people have disabilities that are not visible. It is valuable to learn about visible and non-visible disabilities, challenge our personal biases, and improve our understanding to help create an inclusive and accessible future.
Below are some common types of disabilities and their associated impacts on the job.
Can affect a person’s motor skills and may require the use of a mobility aid.
Can affect a person’s senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch, or taste.
Can affect a person’s ability to learn and use information, creating limitations in reasoning, learning, and problem solving, as well as social and practical skill- building known as adaptive behaviours
Can affect the way a person takes in, stores, or uses information. Learning disabilities can affect a person’s oral and written language, reading skills, mathematics skills, organization, or social skills.
Can affect a person’s mental alertness, concentration, organization, and anxiety levels.