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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Ruth has witnessed some colleagues having unhelpful and unreasonable expectations, which have the potential to distress some staff.

I think also another challenge has been - not just for me, but - but in defence of other people who perhaps don't have dyslexia - The very high standard that people expect of grammar, spelling, anything of the written word, - when I first came, I found myself in a position where I was having to ask people to think about what they were complaining about. Because if somebody sent out an email, particularly if it was all staff, or to a wider group, invariably really nasty emails would come back, criticising - you know - the spelling or the punctuation or the grammar. You know, those sorts of things. And I did spend quite a bit of time talking to people about actually, I don't want to lower standards, but you - you can help and support people to change and develop, without being so cruel in the way that you're doing it, and without embarrassing everybody. Because not everybody in the university has come here with high-flying degrees in English.

And actually, you know, a lot of our workers - particularly in the libraries, haven't necessarily got a degree. And even if you have got a degree, you don't have to excel in those areas. And I found that difficult at first. I was quite surprised at how rude people were willing to be about someone else's knowledge in that area. That doesn't seem to be so prevalent now. And that, that may be because some people have moved on. Or maybe some of the messages have got there, out there. But that was an area where it, it - it made me feel less confident. It didn't ever happen directly to me, but it happened to people in my team, and other people around, that probably didn't have a disability, but I was acutely aware of the fact that if you had the disability as well, that could have been very distressing for you.