Talking to Managers about Disability: New Communication Tools from the Northeast ADA Center

Northeast ADA Center Staff April 26, 2020

As we outlined in Painting a Deeper Picture of Disability Inclusiveness: Changing Organization Culture and Climate, creating a workplace that includes people with disabilities doesn’t happen merely because policies exist within an organization. Organization culture and climate around including people with disabilities must be continually reinforced. In order to support organizational communication around this important topic, the Northeast ADA Center has created Communication Tools to Support Disability Inclusion. These tools are designed to be used by organizational leaders (including human resources, diversity and inclusion teams, company owners, and executives) to send out the right messages to the right people in the right way. 

  • The right messages focus on the importance of disability inclusion to business success.
  • The right people are managers and supervisors. They set the tone for disability inclusion in their own teams and across the organization.
  • The right way is to use short messages that are simple, clear, relevant, and engaging.

The Northeast ADA Center created communication tool templates on eleven topics. Under each topic, you will find sample communications you can adapt to your own organization. You can use them as is by merely inserting your organization name where indicated, or you can use them as a starting point for crafting your own communications. 

The available tools:

1. Why this matters: How disability inclusiveness helps our business

2. Setting the tone: The importance of managers and supervisors

3. Building trust:  Making it safe to come forward with a disability

4. Defining disability: Obvious and non-obvious disabilities

5. Working together: Interacting with people with disabilities

6. Getting talent: Recruiting and hiring people with disabilities

7. Disclosing a disability: When an employee tells their manager about a disability

8. Federal contractors: Encouraging employees to self-identify as a person with a disability

9. The accommodation process: Questions about accommodations

10. Our manager resources: Disability information, contacts, and services

11. Our employee resources: Disability information, contacts, and services

Remember, if you have questions about any of these tools, you can contact the Northeast ADA Center or our fellow ADA Centers at 800-949-4232.