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Disability Narratives

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Video clip: It can be difficult for managers to talk about disability, but if a manager is struggling Ruth urges them to seek advice.

Certainly if people come to me, I would be very encouraging. And most of the managers - well, I think all of the managers here that I've worked with who've, somebody's acquired or has a disability, have been very supportive. And have made the adjustments that they can. Sometimes they can't make all the adjustments that someone would want, and sometimes there is a balance in terms of our budget and our resources, but mostly we've been able to keep most people at work who are newly disabled. And provide them with all the tools to do the job. The issue is whether or not they've got the confidence to speak up to say they need something at time. Yeah.

I think with the changes in legislation over recent years, I think managers - if you say the word 'disability', they're like 'ooh, I don't want to get this wrong'. So they're apprehensive. And they want to get it right. And that I think can produce a barrier, and, and a worrying and, and hesitation on the manager's part. I don't think it's that they want to discriminate, I think it's just that they - it's something new and they're unsure, and they want to get advice. And in the Bodleian we're lucky because we've got our own HR team who are able to advise, but of course they're not there in the room with you when you first discover something. So it's, it's about having the skills to say you'll go and find out, and that sort of thing. And to realise that there will be things there for - you know - to make a difference to support them.

But sometimes it is very difficult to get the balance, where you've got a lot of employees who share facilities, and one needs something very specific, it requires a lot of people to become aware of something. Which may not be somebody's desire either. So, you know, sharing computers or workstations, or - yeah, different technology, that sort of thing. So it isn't necessarily easy to have an adjusted work station, if actually ten of you are using it throughout the day, that sort of thing. So it does require some thought and planning. And I think at first the managers thing 'oh, I don't know if we can do this'. But mostly we've solved those things.