4 August 2014
I have worked in law firms with colleagues who have disabilities. I am fortunate to have seen individuals benefiting from positive experiences – having a supportive employer and colleagues makes it easier to be proactive in saying what an individual’s requirements are and how they can be fitted into the business model without negatively impacting on clients or colleagues. I think it is all too easy to self-impose unnecessary pressure on yourself (but not to voice it!) to be seen to be as or more effective, as or more hard working, as good if not better than colleagues who do not have a disability or illness. This simply is not necessary. However, that is easy to say and does not take account of the times that an individual does struggle with the approach that their employer and/or colleagues takes towards their disability or illness. Unfortunately, I have seen where others have not been willing even to adapt their style of communication towards an individual and the real distress this can cause. It seems to me that a combination of educating others and mentoring for those on the receiving end goes a long way in resolving at least some of the issues.
Kate Rees Doherty