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Audience: Employers
Runtime: 2.00 min.
Focus: Krystine Donata on communication access to employment opportunities.

Employment and Work

The following information is intended to provide a starting point to improve access to work opportunities for people with speech and language disabilities (SLDs), not caused by hearing loss. It is by no means a full comprehensive list of barriers or accommodations. It presents some of the unique challenges that people with SLDs may experience within this situation.

Contact us for more information on making your services accessible.

Sample Communication Access Barriers to Employment and Work Opportunities

Many of us who have Speech and Language Disabilities (SLDs), experience the same barriers as people who have mobility, sensory and other disabilities. In addition, we may experience unique communication barriers due to our speech and language disability. These barriers may include:

  • Lack of opportunities in all types of work– full time and part-time employment; ad hoc engagements, and volunteerism.
  • Lack of supports for work engagements if we need these (e.g. attendant services, communication assistance)
  • Employers unable or unwilling to incur costs of assistant services in addition to our services
  • Lack of flexibility to accommodate our requirements in terms of our fatigue and stamina during for a work engagement
  • Lack of vocational rehabilitation and employment support services that can accommodate and support our communication methods and / or our communication assistive technology
  • Lack of initiatives to create meaningful work opportunities for those of us who cannot find mainstream work engagements
  • Lack of collaboration between communication disability services, vocational rehabilitation and employment services
  • Lack of information, supports and assistive technology funding sources for those of us who are self-employed (e.g. computers, internet access)
  • Lack of work experiences for young people with disabilities, leading to a lack of experience and qualifications for entry-level jobs
  • Lack of or inadequacy of insurance benefits to cover medical and dental services, wheelchairs and assistive technologies that may be more fully covered by government social assistance programs
  • Paid work may result in reductions to social assistance benefits or loss of subsidized housing opportunities and be inadequate to support living in an accessible market rent apartment.

Suggestions for improving access to Work

In addition to generic communication access accommodations, employers, vocational rehabilitation, employment and communication disability services should know:

  • Our ability to speak is not a reflection of our ability to work or the contribution we can bring to an organization or business
  • We may need assistive technology and /or human assistance when working
  • Some of us may need flexibility in our work hours due to stamina, fatigue levels and appointments related to our disability
  • For those of us who are self employed, it would be useful to have access information as well as funding sources for the assistive devices and human supports we may need
  • Employment services, the education system, rehabilitation services and communication services need to collaborate on expanding job training and work opportunities for us
  • Potential employers should consider innovative ways to engage us to meaningfully contribute to their organization such as allowing us to work from home and/or communicate via e-mail.