Guest Post by Patrick Young
Disabilities can impact an individual’s work performance and daily life in many ways. The significance of the impact depends on the person’s unique level of disability and ability, but most of the time, simple accommodations can be made in the workplace and at home to help the individual thrive. If you’re looking for creative alternatives to conventional workplace practices and processes to accommodate your visual or auditory impairment (or your employees’), consider these ideas:
Starting a Home Business
Starting a company could be the ideal career path if you live with a visual or auditory disability. Essentially, it gives you more control over your destiny and day-to-day work life. More people are launching businesses from their homes than ever before, and there are endless types of businesses you could start and manage without leaving your house.
Here are a few to consider:
- Prospect research profiling or data analytics
- Grant writing
- Electronics repair
- Children or pet care
- Online retail store
- Medical transcription
- Freelance writing
- Web designing or development
If you choose to launch a company, you’ll need to create a detailed business plan strategy and select the appropriate legal structure. You’ll also need to develop a branding package, build a website, and find financing that will help you operate for the first several years. Then, you’ll be ready to start promoting your products or services and gaining customers.
Similar to entrepreneurs, technology has opened up many opportunities for job seekers who wish to work remotely. If you would rather work for an employer, look into the wealth of WFH (work from home) jobs circulating the market.
Prospect research profiling, data analytics, and grant writing are all fundraising services that can be packaged and sold. Offering service packages makes it easier to communicate your offerings and for customers to purchase without having to have many phone or video calls.
Low Vision Accommodations
If you’re trying to navigate the workplace challenges with low vision, you might ask your supervisors about enlarging the text on the company’s written materials (e.g., signs, equipment labels, handouts, etc.). This is an easy fix because most photocopy machines allow you to easily make text larger. You might also request having specific content recorded so you can listen to the audio versions.
Furthermore, consider the equipment in the workplace. Whether you’re an employer making accommodations or an employee requesting them, understand that lighting, computer monitors, and software play a vital role in helping workers with low vision succeed.
Many people who live with blindness have trouble comprehending verbal descriptions of abstract ideas and visual materials. Additionally, presentations based on texture, shape, and temperature tend to be easier to understand than those based on color. Anytime your team uses visual aids, make sure someone is prepared to provide a concise narration of the key points.
Also, ensure the appropriate technology is available for yourself or your workers to hear text read aloud or to read in braille. Audio files are also helpful in allowing team members with blindness to stay on the same page.
Hearing Impairment Accommodations
Hearing aids and other amplification devices allow for some individuals with hearing impairments to hear at a functional level. Other people hear nothing at all or only certain sounds and frequencies within a specific volume range.
Consider any adjustments to fans, lights, and other daily noises you can make to accommodate those with hearing impairments. Other accommodations you might consider include:
- Amplification systems
- Visual aids
- Email descriptions of team discussions
Individuals with visual or hearing disabilities face many challenges on a daily basis. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, or employer, it’s critical to ensure a comfortable, healthy, and productive work environment.
Consider the information and advice above as you make the necessary changes to your workplace. And keep learning other ways to improve your or your team’s chances of success. Sometimes the simplest modification can make all the difference!
In addition to offering top-quality training, Prospect Research Institute connects you with a community of fundraising prospect research professionals who share your career passion. Click here to become a member.
About the Author
Patrick Young is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances–the outside world often either underestimates them or ignores their needs altogether. He created Able USA to offer helpful resources to people with disabilities and to provide advice on navigating various aspects of life as a person with disabilities.