Recently the hashtag #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow brought the disabled community together to share stories about their experiences on Twitter.

It was started by disability rights advocate Imani Barbarin who wrote about her frustration with disability representation in films and TV. Specifically, she wondered why non-disabled actor Bryan Cranston was chosen to play a disabled character in “The Upside” – a new film about a wealthy man with quadriplegia.

She felt this was another example of disabled actors, and disabled people in general, being overlooked and side-lined. Her article and accompanying hashtag were widely shared and soon many other Twitter users were keen to offer their own perspectives.

Many stories focused on the ignorance of comments from others like “What happened to you?” or “You don’t look disabled”. But there were also tweets about disabled people’s experience of the workplace. These highlighted the prejudice that still exists towards a disabled person in employment. Examples included indirect discrimination such as “You need a driving licence to do this job”, and feeling pressured to answer questions from potential employers about a disability – questions that legally shouldn’t have been asked.

Frustration about inaccessible workplaces was common too, as was concern that disabled people weren’t receiving the help they needed from colleagues. In our work helping disabled people in employment, we’ve seen many instances of these issues with our own eyes.

Through workplace adjustments, assistive-technology training, training and support, Concept Northern help employees with a disability. We work with people with assistive requirements such as dyslexia, autism, mobility problems, vision impairments and hearing loss. We want to improve the workplace experience of those with a disability and challenge the barriers they face.

Many changes can be funded through Access to Work, the Department for Work and Pensions programme aimed at supporting people in employment. But, more than twenty years after the scheme launched, some employees and employers still don’t know how it can help. That’s why we created a handy guide – It’s got all the information needed to successfully apply for funding.

We also help increase understanding of issues surrounding disability through our instructor-led awareness sessions. Helping employees and managers understand the barriers a disabled colleague faces is a great first step to creating a more informed workplace.

#ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow brought to the surface the underlying frustration felt by people with a disability about working in an environment that’s often oblivious to their needs and rights. Hopefully, that frustration will reduce as more and more employers learn about disabilities, the issues surrounding them, and the adjustments that can be made to create an inclusive workplace.

For more information about Access to Work, please contact Barbara Borthwick on 01355 573173, or by email to barbarb@conceptnorthern.co.uk