What can companies do to support employees with disabilities?

There are a variety of strategies that companies can use to support employees with disabilities. Taking such actions may help to ensure that employees with disabilities have the same opportunities for advancement and professional development as all employees.  Some of these strategies may be similar to strategies used to support other underrepresented groups, such as women and racial/ethnic minorities. To support employees with disabilities companies can:

What strategies used to recruit other underrepresented groups could be repurposed for use in recruiting students with disabilities to your program, institution, or department?

Many programs, institutions and departments have strategies that they use to recruit individuals from underrepresented groups such as women and racial/ethnic minorities.  Many of these strategies can be adapted for recruiting individuals with disabilities. For example:

What language should I use to talk about people with disabilities?

Refer to a person's disability only if it is relevant to the conversation. Avoid negative descriptions of a person's disability. For example, "a person who uses a wheelchair" is more appropriate than "a person confined to a wheelchair," which is both inaccurate and negative in tone; people who use wheelchairs are not “confined” to them, they are empowered by them with the gift of mobility.

Many people with disabilities prefer language that mentions the person first and then the disability. They consider, for example "A man who is blind" preferable to "a blind man.”

Industrial Design Studio Projects: A Promising Practice in Teaching Students the Value of Engaging Users with Disabilities

As part of a design project in a sophomore Industrial Design studio class at the Georgia Institute of Technology, students completed a project on assistive design. The objective of the project was to apply user-centered design strategies to design a product to meet a specific need for a user with a disability. Each student was required to identify potential barriers in a given scenario and then to design and fabricate a working product prototype to address the barrier.

Multisensory Engineering Experiences: A Promising Practice for Preparing Students for College

The 2016 Engineering Experience for High School Students with Visual Impairments or Blindness at North Carolina State University (NCSU) aimed to prepare students with visual impairments or blindness for college by engaging them in engineering activities, identifying assistive technology that may help them navigate college life, and introducing them to mentors.