According to the World Health Organization, between 15% to 20% of the world’s population, approximately 1.3 billion individuals, are disabled. People with impairments come in all shapes and sizes. Disabilities might be temporary or permanent, apparent or invisible.
In addition to other factors, such as changing demographics and an increase in chronic illnesses, the number of people who live with a disability is rising. At some point in their lives, almost everyone will become disabled, either temporarily or permanently.
However, individuals with disabilities are burdened the most by unreal performance expectations at work. The ones who have intellectual disabilities experience a hard time getting their disabilities noticed and supported at work. The following is a better understanding of intellectual disabilities at work and how to support such individuals:
Understanding Intellectual Disability at Work
A person is said to have an intellectual disability if they have particular limits in their cognitive functioning and capabilities, including their conceptual, social, and practical abilities. These also entail their language, social, and self-care abilities.
Due to these restrictions, a person may develop and learn more slowly or otherwise differently than someone in a similar developmental stage. Before the age of 22, intellectual disability can develop anytime, even before birth. The most prevalent developmental condition is intellectual disability.
A person has an intellectual disability if they meet three requirements, according to the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities:
- Low IQ scores.
- Adaptive behavioral constraint in areas including conceptual, social, or practical skills.
People with disabilities have historically been trained to work in jobs designed just for them. These non-competitive positions were manufactured. Today, it is recommended for people with intellectual disabilities to select a line of work that speaks to them. They aren’t restricted to the task that was made just for them anymore. Many persons with intellectual disabilities can co-work with those without disabilities with additional help. They can effectively compete for these occupations as well.
Ways to Support People with Intellectual Disabilities at Work
For a better and growing working environment, employers must support individuals with intellectual disabilities. Such people require additional support as well as a kinder environment to let themselves grow freely. The following ways are the most beneficial ways to help support people with intellectual disabilities at work:
Practice Sensitivity Towards Emotional Stress
Anxiety and depression have a variety of symptoms, like many other illnesses. When presenting in front of a large group of colleagues, most people experience some pressure. But ordinary tensions like this can more severely affect persons with intellectual disabilities. Work on providing accommodations for workers who encounter public triggers. For instance, you can introduce new duties to them more gradually than normal.
Initiate Private Meetings with Such Employees
Regularly schedule a private meeting with the employee to determine if concerns may be resolved before they get out of hand. Always be cordial and upbeat throughout these meetings. Point up specific instances where the worker has met or surpassed expectations as you commend and reward good performance.
Make Clear Expectations and Boundaries
Uncertain directions and rules may discourage someone struggling with mental health issues. Without clarity, the employee could become petrified by the fear of acting inappropriately. Clarify misunderstandings by providing clear guidelines on obligations, due dates, personnel, and workplace expectations. Checklists can aid in focusing an employee’s attention on the task at hand rather than worrying about performing it poorly.
Sarcasm and other forms of subtle humor may be difficult for people with intellectual disabilities to grasp, and if you use them repeatedly, they might become confused. Instead, be direct in your communication and convey facts in an understandable way to all parties.
Consider Different Methods to Communicate
Some people will pick up on their duties more quickly if given the information in various formats. You could, for instance, walk an employee through work in person, show them a video, and print out textual instructions. Employees’ training can be aided by this reinforcement, giving them access to backup knowledge they can use in the workplace.
Embrace and Promote Neuro-diversity
The concept of neuro-diversity accepts the notion that individuals see and engage with their environment differently. According to research, varied viewpoints lead to greater business outcomes, and individuals who feel they belong at work are more creative, healthy, and engaged. This is especially valid for neuro-diverse people who assist organizations in responding to the desire for innovation.
Provide Hints for Transitions
By providing signs that an event is about to happen, you can aid an individual with an intellectual handicap in simplifying transitions. Employees will be more focused and prepared for the following step if you make a straightforward announcement like, “We have a few minutes left in our meeting.”
Increase Confidence with Role-Playing
Employees may seem disinterested when they are simply uncertain of what to do. You may instill confidence in your employees by simulating various scenarios and having role-playing sessions. You can discuss and role-play any difficult or unusual situations so the person with intellectual disabilities can come to terms with the upcoming scenario.
Promote Innovation and Inclusivity
To better meet more individuals’ requirements, include design leverages to understand consumer diversity to guide decisions along the development process. Products that become more inclusive can reach a larger market, boost consumer happiness, promote corporate success, and provide additional opportunities for persons with disabilities to take part in socio-economic life.
Supporting people with intellectual disabilities is not only essential for a loyal staff member and better growth opportunities for them. Instead, it is a long-term benefit for the business as well. Such support for intellectually disabled workers can also promote inclusivity, diversity, and innovation for a more creative working environment. This creates brand recognition and profitability for the business. Thus, working in supportive ways, we can easily create a healthier, more patient, tolerant, and more embracing environment for intellectually disabled workers.