Disability Awareness Training - any advice on improving people's awareness and changing people's attitudes?

Hello all,

Just wondered if anyone had experience of launching Disability Awareness training?
This is something new which I am starting work on. I'm looking to identify key audiences internally and provide tailored training to them.

Where these are customer facing roles (call centres, frontline colleagues), I'm reasonably comfortable in creating content and getting engagement on this, although would welcome any experiences from others.
My frustration is around functions such as Marketing where there is no direct access to disabled customers. How can I get them to buy into this on an ongoing basis and for this to become a default consideration for all new products? Similarly, this would include any new projects initiated across the business. Has anyone else had issues around this?

Thanks
Ann

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Hi Ann

You probably tried something similiar to this when you have done training for call centre staff and I am not sure what the products that your marketing and product development people are trying to design and sell! But the most powerful exercises I have experienced and tried are those which are highly experiential. E.g put a blindfold on someone and ask them to find their way around the building or complete a task like writing a simple sentence on a whiteboard, limit someone's mobility (they can only use one hand) and ask them to make coffee and cut bread for toast, or make them sit in a chair and make coffee in a normal kitchen (most things are not at the right height for someone in a wheelchair )put really good earplugs in and ask them to listen to the radio and then report back what they heard... There are probably lots of other things you can do but the key thing is about getting them to see how difficult normal life is if you have any kind of disability. Just try opening an aerosol paint can or even a chocolate wrapper, or change camera batteries with only one hand and poor sight! If you can, get them to use any of the products that your company produce during the exercise.

This doesn;t cover all eventualities but might get people thinking. Introduce it as a bit of fun with a serious purpose and carefully debrief. Hope that helps.
Hi Ann

I would recommend that you look up Simon Minty, who I understand is one of the UK’s leading authorities on disability and diversity in the workplace.

I recently attended a session that Simon ran at my employer (Deloitte)as part of our workplace diversity agenda. This took the form of an interactive theatre workshop designed to improve awareness of disability related issues, and was very well received.

Well worth a look, the web site is
http://www.mintyandfriend.com

Regards

Keith Hamilton
Learning Manager
Deloitte LLP
UK HR- Learning
Hi both,

Thanks for your replies. It seems the best way forward is to make people experience the world from the perspective of a disabled person (excellent suggestions Ruth), and look to get someone with a disability to run a session. What I will also try to do is get some disabled people in and show product designers the difficulties they have accessing our products.
Interestingly, I'm at a session soon which Phil Friend is leading, so that will be good information.

In terms of the buying power of disabled people, any thoughts on a magazine/website which they use? I'm thining something along the lines of the disabled version of Saga for old people. If we can demonstrate the commercial case, we may get more buy-in from Marketing.

Thanks again for your help, definately prompted some thoughts
Ann

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