I hope that you find this space useful. Please do join the debate and discussion – my aspiration is that we crowd source great ideas that we can share and put into practice in our own lives and workplaces. I am intending to host at least one guest blog a month so if you would like to share please do get in touch. I will also endeavour to flag the most recent blog post in the category list to the side.
I am planning on keeping a similar structure for all posts based on the following:
- building understanding (sometimes from a position of lived experience)
- looking at some of the barriers
- exploring as a collective the long term changes that could help improve things
- All good things…As we are about to enter the Year of the Tiger it feels somewhat ironic to be bringing this blog to a close. The Year of the Tiger will apparently be about making big changes and having finally succumbed to COVID this week the biggest change for me will be taking a step back from … Continue reading All good things…
- Perfect 10I have a lot of time for Strictly Come Dancing but this year’s series has been wonderful, not just in terms of the dancing but also the inclusion stories woven through it. With John and Johannes, the first all male couple, and Rose Ayling-Ellis, raising deaf awareness, both in the final it promises to be … Continue reading Perfect 10
- Loaded language: racismThis may be a controversial starting point but I fear that the words racism and racist are unhelpfully overpowered. As I have been following the racism scandal engulfing cricket, I have been intrigued by the reactions of those named within the revelations. Of those individuals, Michael Vaughan’s stance really stands out. Azeem Rafiq alleged that … Continue reading Loaded language: racism
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7 thoughts on “#ImNotTired blog”
This has resonated so much with my own experience. I was diagnosed with CIS in 2013, which progressed to RRMS last summer. On the face of it, no-one would even hazard to guess that I had a debilitating illness, but even those who are aware somehow forget, because we ‘wear it’ so well.
I had an interview with Action for Children and was given the interview questions beforehand, I hadn’t been diagnosed at that point, but was in the very early stages (not that I knew) but the difference in being confident in answering the questions was insurmountable (I’m also an introvert, so loathe talking about myself). Now, with brain fog, I absolutely dread interviews and have to spend a week preparing and rehearsing.
I too welcome the sunflower lanyard idea, but like you, not particularly comfortable displaying a “badge” of sorts to say I have an invisible illness. However, following an horrendous journey to Devon last year and having to stand on a train for the best part of 1.5 hours, I’d fully embrace a similar scheme on public transport.
This is so powerful, thank you for sharing. So much resonates with memories of my partner’s experience. It would be great to see a more open conversation about disability within organisations and sharing of progress. Rather than fearing it isn’t enough, it would be more powerful to share what has been done and learn from feedback about what else would work.
Having been involved in interviewing recently, I feel it is important to support people to be able to show themselves at their best and to understand the different opportunities employers could and should take to make this process more inclusive. I think the idea about sharing adjustments that have been made previously could be really useful to try and see if people do feel more confident about asking for what they need. Being really clear about how an interview will run and encouraging people to get in touch beforehand with any questions will also help build confidence. Involving staff networks, if an organisation has them, to help shape this process would be really useful.
Regarding accessible toilets, Crohn’s and Colitis UK ran a campaign to encourage use of the ‘not every disability is visible’ sign on toilet doors. The traditional disability symbol encourages people to think only wheelchair users should use accessible toilets. Adding this sign has proved helpful to build understanding, as has increasing staff awareness.
This is so powerful. Thank you for sharing. So much resonates with memories of my partner’s experience.
It would be really helpful if organisations would talk about what progress they have made rather than fearing it isn’t enough and saying nothing. The idea of sharing what can be done to make an interview more inclusive is interesting. It might encourage more candidates to ask for adjustments they need by growing confidence that their request will be listened to. The more an organisation can listen and learn from feedback and improve the accessibility of their application and interview process, the fewer ‘additional requests’ might be necessary. Sharing how an interview will run in advance enables people to feel more confident in what they are being asked to do and to ask any further questions in advance.
For accessible toilets, Crohn’s and Colitis UK ran a campaign for the addition of the ‘not every disability is visible’ sign. The current disability symbol encourages people to think only about wheelchair users. This sign has encouraged a greater understanding of who needs to use an accessible toilet, along with increasing staff awareness.
Hi Tiger, and thanks for the honesty. I think there are so many practical things we can all do on a daily basis. My favourite is when welcoming someone to you office for a meeting, ask them if they prefer the lift or stairs to get to a floor. If it’s the lift, then fine – no further jokes about fitness or electricity usage are needed.
Since before I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis a few years ago, stairs have been my nemesis. Expecting me to make polite conversation while walking up those stairs and you may as well cancel the meeting! I know I may look athletic (😳) but some days I still need two hands to lift a coffee cup.
For Londoners, TFL do a free ‘please offer me a seat’ badge. I’ve never been brave enough to ask someone else for a seat using it, but it takes the edge off the anxiety of someone evicting you if you casually have it in show on you bag on your lap… and your legs aren’t working well.
Looking forward to seeing this blog develop!
Thanks Tiger for sharing. My sister-in-law and my husband both have MS. My sister-in-law is in a wheelchair so quite visible but my husband like you diagnosed 15 years ago isn’t so visible and has had similar experiences. He does like the recent change to some of the tube lines where end seats have been upholstered in disability aware fabrics. He has noticed some people will think twice before sitting firstly in the end seat. He has also challenged me as a volunteer manager to review how I can make volunteer activities more accessible which in turn has made me think differently on how we advertise and recruit. Still lots to do but talking about it more is encouraging small and simple steps to move forward. Look forward to seeing further comments and posts.
A Big Book of Adjustment Ideas would be a valuable resource for all companies 😍
A similar resource Gareth Lewis made for NT autistic employees and volunteers is super helpful for autistic people doing applications.
Great Post. I often find the conversations around disability focus on “didnt they defy the odds!” Or “this disabled person climbed a mountain, arent they amazing!” Or “despite their disadvanted they overcame their difficulties to blah blah blah”
I think the achievements of disabled people should always be shouted from the roof tops. But something about this conversion needs to change. Disablilty is not something you overcome or put aside with pure grit and determination. As if those who struggle just “don’t have what it takes to get on”. Disabled people shouldn’t have to climb mountains every day to access basic services and employment.
And no amount of “fighting spirit” is going to help you when the sink is positioned too high, or there is no accessible lift, or you’re not given extra time for written tasks, or your workstation is sensory overload.
I love the adjustments idea you mentioned. I think we need to change the conversation and when we design services we need to be inclusive by design.