Tips for Inclusion
Tips for Inclusion in the Workplace for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hard-of-Hearing
Our ears separate us from people in the world – at least that’s how I think people feel because they find it difficult or nearly impossible to communicate with us in any language. We know how we can communicate. Our ears don’t work like the public expects they will; they don’t know what to do to overcome this barrier to communication. We each know how our ears work and how they don’t; how we can communicate and what tools will help us to communicate with the hearing public effectively – but employers don’t.
So as vibrant individuals looking for employment or becoming employed or looking for work we need to be self advocates. We need to help employers understand our needs to enable us to be successful in our work with them. Here are some thoughts and tips to help you navigate the hiring and employment process.
- On making contact
- Be sure to have a dedicated email address in the contact information section of your resume.
- Include the PA Relay 711 number as part of your phone number ex) 711 412.232.1234
- In the body of the cover letter explain the best way to contact you is via email.
- In the body of the cover letter include brief instructions for calling you ex) If you need to call me, please dial 711 and wait for the operator to ask you for the number to call and you will be placed in touch with me.
- If you can, try to use CapTel or Web CapTel to help you communicate with employers.
- When asked how you would be able to perform the job in question with or without accommodations, tell the employer
- the basics of what you need to perform the job
- the best ways to assist in helping you to perform the job
- AND TELL THE EMPLOYER HOW to get these devices
Taking these steps will help in overcoming barriers to employment. You can even ask for a tour of the worksite so that you can assess what else you might need – and to help you determine if it looks like a place in which you want to work. You may find some things are very simple, like attaching a mirror to your computer so you can see when and who walks up to talk to you. Sure other things will be more difficult to include, but if we work with the employer in asking for and explaining what we need and how it will help, I believe that most times the employer will work to accommodate us.