Not all Disabilities are Visible

Disability – Visible and Invisible

When we think of disability, we often envision a person with a visible disability, such as someone who uses a wheelchair or a walker. However, the majority of clients we work with at REES have invisible disabilities, meaning that the nature of their disability may not be apparent at first glance. Disabilities can also include health conditions such as diabetes, colitis, chronic migraines, and more. Additionally, disability may be the result of the natural aging process, such as loss of vision, or the result of a health event, such as long-term effects from a stroke, cancer, or even long COVID. It is important to note that no two people may experience disability the same way, and each individual’s requirements for accommodations are unique and personalized.

Disability can and will affect each and every one of us in our lifetime, whether it be our aging parents, other family members or friends, or ourselves. Disability can happen at any point in our lives, and it is in the best interest of all to create an environment that is inclusive and accommodating to those with disabilities so that everyone can participate in all aspects of life, including work.

Disability & Accommodation

As many disabilities are not visible, many of our clients ask if they are required to disclose to an employer that they have a disability. At REES, we work one-on-one with our clients to assist them in preparing a plan for communicating the nature of their disability with an employer. This plan includes whether it is necessary, when it might be necessary, and how to disclose. When it comes to disclosure, there are no cookie-cutter answers, which is why we work one-on-one with our clients to ensure that they feel comfortable with the plan and that it is thorough, reasonable, and that the clients feel comfortable with the process, both at REES, in a job interview, and in employment.

Many of our clients may not require any accommodation in the workplace at all, and some require accommodations that actually cost an employer surprisingly little. The accommodation may vary based on the work environment, so we work closely with our clients to brainstorm solutions for workplace accommodation questions on a case-by-case basis. We like to describe an accommodation as a reasonable adjustment made to a work situation that levels the playing field for a person with a disability to reach the outcomes as their peers using a modified process.

Equality vs. Equity

It is not lost on us that the name of our organization is Reaching E-Quality Employment Services, and in the coming months as we move closer to our 35th anniversary, we will delve more into the history of that name. However, it is important to understand equality vs. equity. Equality means that each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities to reach equal outcomes. REES is committed to promoting equity in employment and working with our clients, employers, and the community to provide whatever supports we can to assist in a successful employment match.

Image source: Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire Website: Artist’s Website: