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Any person with disability can do any job with a feasible workplace solution and an enabling environment. Read below to understand more about workplace solutions.
What do eye glasses, torches, buses, elevators, all have in common?
These devices have become part of our lives and they all help us overcome our limitations, limitation in seeing things, limitation in seeing things in the dark, limitation in travelling faster, limitation in reaching the topmost floor in a tall building. What we don't realize is how efficient we become when we use them. Can we now imagine the world without these devices?
Similarly, persons with disability use assistive aids to overcome their limitations and to carry out their job efficiently.
It's not enough if we have buses. We need good roads, we need conductors and drivers! Similarly, it may be necessary to make reasonable modifications in the work process, or make the physical location more accessible for a person with disability to overcome workplace challenges.
These solutions that create enabling supportive environment and bridge the gap between a person's disability and the job requirements, is our workplace solutions.
Workplace Solution uses a combination of the following:
Examples of workplace solutions:
Visually impaired and low vision HR Executives in companies such as Wipro, Thomson Reuters, Aditi Technologies, IBM, 24x7 Customer: They use screen reader or magnification software for working on computers. For efficiency on the computer, they use the keyboard and keyboard shortcuts. Typing speeds are 25+ wpm. For note taking, the visually impaired executives use shorthand Braille, walkman for recording main points or use the laptop. The low vision executives take down notes using marker pen or directly on the laptop with a magnifier. For maintaining contacts, they use talking software on their mobile phones which enables them to note down contacts. For quick follow-up and communication, the software on mobile enables them to send SMSes. While making presentations, screen reader or magnification software helps them. Some executives use sound for screen transitions which enables them to know when they move to the next screen. Visually impaired executives refer to their Braille notes while making presentation. Low vision executives refer to notes made in large font with a marker. For travel, visually impaired executives use a white cane and move around well due to their experience. The low vision executives use cane only in some situations when required. Within the office, the executives move around with ease after getting initial orientation to the workplace with audio description of layout and by showing them around. During training, some of the executives were provided the training material in advance. During training, the trainer and the visually impaired employee ensured inclusion by explanation of critical visual elements. The executives enter timesheet information via company intranet tools via which is accessible via screen reader software.Hearing Impaired and Hard of Hearing Back Office Executives in companies such as Mphasis, Infosys, Corelogic, Accenture, Deutsche Bank: During training, sign language interpreters were used to communicate the training effectively to the hearing impaired employees. Team members were given sign language training to enable daily communication. The hard of hearing executives use hearing aids, lip reading and proximity to the trainer to enable them during training. During team meetings, important points are written on the board or laptop for the hearing impaired executives. After team meetings, buddy assigned to the hearing impaired fill in on the points which could be missed out. In some companies, minutes are sent out which enable the hearing impaired and other employees to recap the points. For hearing impaired executives, long distance communication happens via chat and SMS. Hard of hearing executives use telephone amplification devices for long distance communication. To communicate with the transport department, hearing impaired sends SMS to the transport coordinator who relays the information to the cab drivers. In some companies, hearing impaired executives coordinate with their team lead for transport. During performance appraisal, some team leads use PC/notepad and sign language to communicate. For general communication or appraisals, some companies are now adopting the video relay chat service available via signntalk.org where company communicates to the interpreter via voice and with the VC or PC with internet and web camera, the hearing impaired sees the interpreter’s communication.
Persons with hearing impairment working as customer service attendant in companies such as Shell: The customer service attendants communicate using a wipeable communication board which allows the customer tick the relevant options such as petrol or diesel, credit card or cash and the amount of fuel to be filled in the least time. During training, a sign language interpreter has been provided in some cases. In many cases, the retailer has done training on their own using basic signs, acting, show the work and make the person learn experientially and so on. Daily communication is by writing, gestures, basic signs and body language.Persons with severe physical impairment (of legs and hands due to polio, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputee) and working in different capacities (programming, graphic designing, business operations) in EMC2, IBM, Mphasis: They use the wheelchair primarily for their movement. Some of them use the on screen keyboard for typing). Some use the regular keyboard with a pointing device. Some require the keyboard at a different height. Some who have limited mobility in one hand have practiced quick typing with one hand (they can also use the one handed keyboard). Some of them require a helper for their personal needs (including eating, moving around and using the restroom). Others use a motorized wheelchair with modifications so that they can attend to their personal needs on their own. Some use walkman or digital recorder for note taking. Some of them have modified their car for easy movement in and out of the transport vehicle. Some have to be carried in to the car. If they have good hand strength, some are able to use their hands to move around on the floor when access is bad. Some have been given work at home option on some days as a solution to limit their travel.
Persons with vision impairment working in banks, manufacturing companies and other companies working as packers: They use their tactile sense to put the items and fold the box or envelopes as per the method to be used. If different items have to be put in different boxes or envelopes based on rules, the containers with the different items is marked with Braille, bindi stickers or some colored tactile marking for the low vision employee. This enables the visually impaired to distinguish the containers and hence take the right items to be put into the box
Deepa is a Graphic Designer. Limited mobility in her hands did not stop her from achieving what she wanted to. Read about Deepa's creative workplace solutions.
Read how persons with disability use Assistive Aids to overcome disability
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