Disability Equality Training courses have been run by people with disabilities for over 3 decades, in order to highlight the real issues that people with various disabilities face in their daily lives.
The objectives of Disability Equality Training are:
- To reach a social model-based understanding of disability, where the barriers that exist within society (such as attitudes and financial barriers) are identified
- To challenge the myths and assumptions about people with disabilities that lead to discrimination
- To identify how equal practices and ideas can be applied, in order to ensure that people with disabilities are included more effectively.
Disability Equality Training differs from Disability Awareness Training, in that Awareness Training tends to focus on specific conditions or impairments and often uses ‘simulation exercises’(such as blind-folding participants etc). These are carried out in order to give attendees an ‘understanding’ of how the specific impairment affects an individual. This therefore means that Awareness sessions have a ‘medical focus’, as they often look at how an individual can be helped to ‘overcome’ the condition. Furthermore, Disability Awareness Training sessions are often facilitated by people who have no direct experience of the impairment itself. However, we at Toucan Diversity Training believe that all training should be led by those with direct insight into the disability issues they discuss. This is because we believe that this is a fundamental part of changing the attitudes of non-disabled participants in a positive way. Toucan Diversity also believe that ‘simulation exercises’ do not give an accurate, or reliable understanding of how an impairment affects an individual’s daily life.
Disability Equality training was initially only offered to those in the care profession. However, it has since become clear that much wider sections of society would benefit from the training. At Toucan Diversity, we believe that all organisations or establishments should attend Disability Equality Training, in order to become ‘disability smart’. Attending a session would also be a vital step towards tackling the current inequality that people with disabilities face. Many organisations have recognized that staff, at all levels, need to be better informed about disability, including the sort of practical issues which might arise. Such organisations will gain a great deal from Disability Equality Training, which will extend their understanding and help them to capitalize on the value that disabled customers and employees bring to their organisation.
Madissa Asgari MA, BA (Hons)