In July 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. It was a historic moment for disabled people all over America, and ever since, Disability Pride Month has been celebrated in July. The majority of people don’t know much about Disability Pride, and in fact, most don’t even know that it happens. But it does, and it’s important.
25% of Americans have a disability – that’s a quarter of the population, and over 61 million individuals. Disability is so much more prevalent and common that you think. Not only are a quarter of Americans disabled, 43.5 million Americans are primary caregivers to a disabled child or adult. Disability Pride should be one of the biggest events of the year in our country, but every July, it seems to slip under the radar. Many disabled people are proud to be disabled, and they are part of a diverse community that intersects with all other marginalized communities. Even though disability is a significant part of our global world, our world does not recognize disability as anything but a bad thing.
While disability should be accepted and celebrated all year long, Disability Pride month is an opportunity to change things. We can use this month as an opportunity to bring disability to the forefront of the conversation, and we can use those conversations to bring about real and practical change that lasts the entire year.
Disability impacts a huge portion of our society both directly or indirectly, while at the same time, the lives and experiences of disabled people and those adjacent to them are continually ignored, misrepresented, and underrepresented. This can feel overwhelming, leaving many people feeling under-equipped to help and make a difference.
So, what can you do to make a difference?
- Educate yourself. Most people, even caregivers and disability-adjacent people, are undereducated when it comes to disability and the lived experiences of disabled people. We are so lucky to live in an era where solid information can be found from so many different perspectives. Read books, have people come in to speak to your team, do DEI training for disability, and in all of this, make sure that you are learning from disabled people themselves – their voice needs to be centered.
- Start with DEI. Even though 90% of companies have a DEI plan, only 4% of these plans include disability. If your DEI initiatives don’t include disability, then this is a great place to start! Talk to your HR and DEI team to come up with a plan.
- Start an ERG for your disabled and disability-adjacent employees. Make sure that it is a safe space, where they can talk openly about their experiences. Connect the ERG to HR and your DEI team, so that they have an open channel of conversation where they can take their concerns and ideas.
- Employ more disabled people. The unemployment rate of people with disabilities is double that of non-disabled people – even though studies show that companies who employ more disabled people have double the net income, 30% higher profit margins, and 28% higher revenue.
One of the best things you can do for the disabled and neurodivergent people on your team, as well as the disability-adjacent caregivers, is to help take the stress of admin off their shoulders. It takes hours every week to organize doctor’s appointments, call insurance, structure physical therapies, call caregivers, and more. Our system is not built to make these things easy, and many caregivers find the administration and bureaucracy of caretaking extremely challenging.
Joshin was created so that your employees are able to manage the administrative stress of having a disability. Joshin is a personalized benefit for employees connected to a disability and neurodivergence – whether they have a disability themselves, or they are currently caring for someone who does. We take the stress out of managing care through expert coaching and care planning. We support people leaders and teams to become educated on disability and inclusion in the workplace. Joshin is designed to help your whole team thrive. From providing care and guidance to individuals and families with disabilities to educating teams about disability inclusion, we help create a workplace where everyone feels safe and included. If you want to learn more about how Joshin can help relieve stress for your team, sign up for a demo.