Pastoral Care Support
The disability and additional support need of each Intern will still exist upon completion of the programme - the young people that are supported through Project SEARCH will require lifelong support in all areas of their lives. The support that is required could be very minimal, but it needs to be pro-active, for example, anticipating issues that may arise from changes at work. The Project SEARCH team will be available to support Interns who enter work and their employer whenever pastoral care support is required. Additional support can also be offered from the appropriate local authority supported employment service.
While at work, Interns may come across scenarios that they do not understand, for example, work place humour, or unwritten work place rules. The Project SEARCH team will also be available to support you in developing ad-hoc training in response to any issues or scenarios that arise in the workplace.
Disability Etiquette in the Workplace
- General Interaction
- When introduced to people with disabilities, it is appropriate to offer to shake hands. People with limited hand use or an artificial limb usually shake hands.
- When offering assistance, wait until the offer is accepted or rejected. If accepted, listen to the person and/or ask for instructions. Asking questions about how best to assist is fine. If rejected, do not feel insulted or offended it just means the individual does not need assistance
- Be considerate of extra time it might take for some people with disabilities to complete certain tasks. Give unhurried attention to people who have difficulty speaking. Do not pretend to understand, and ask for repetition if you do not.
- Be aware that many people can have disabilities that are not apparent. Just because you cannot see a disability does not mean it doesn’t exist
- Make community events available to everyone. Hold them in accessible locations. When planning a meeting or other event, try to anticipate specific accommodations a person with a disability might need.
- Living with a disability is an adjustment that most people have to make at some point in their lives and does not require exaggerated compliments or pity
- Relax. Anyone can make mistakes. Offer an apology if you forget some courtesy and keep a sense of humour.
- People with a disability usually do not want to discuss it as a first topic of conversation
- Use a normal speaking tone and style. If someone needs you to speak in a louder voice, he or she will ask you to do so.
- Speak calmly, slowly and directly. Your facial expressions, gestures and body movements help in understanding.
- Asking personal questions about someone’s disability is unprofessional. Enquiries should be limited to information necessary to provide adjustments.
- Remember that people with disabilities, like all people, are experts on themselves. They know what they like, what they do not like and what they can and cannot do
- Using common expressions (“See you later”, I’ve got to run now” or “Have you heard about….”) is fine even if these phrases are at odds with the person’s disability. People with disabilities use these phrases regularly. Just be aware that some people, particularly those with Autistic Spectrum Disorders, may take your remarks literally.
- Avoid excessive praise when people with disabilities accomplish normal tasks. Similarly, avoid terms that imply that people with disabilities are overly courageous, brave or special.