In Review: Painting a deeper picture of disability inclusiveness

“It will take more than formal trainings and nice posters in the hallway to truly change organizational climates in ways that will enhance disability inclusiveness.”                   

What comes to mind when you read, “disability in the workplace”?  For many, it might bring to mind thoughts of paperwork, Human Resource meetings and training manuals. But what happens after the paperwork?

An article we recently read, “Painting a deeper picture of disability inclusiveness: Changing organizational culture and climate,” suggests when it comes to actually incorporating disability inclusiveness in the workplace, there’s a pretty big void.

“After all the forms are filled in and all the boxes are checked, organizational leaders are now recognizing that something is still missing – something intangible that prevents the organization from fully leveraging all their talent,” write Hannah Rudstam, Ph.D., Northeast ADA Center, Cornell University and Wendy Strobel Gower, Project Director, Northeast ADA Center, Cornell University.

What is the “something” they suggest is missing?

Organizational climate.

Oh, like company culture?

No, they mean climate.  What’s the difference?

Organizational Climate:

  • Encompasses both the work involved within your organization and what it’s like to spend your days there.
  • It refers to aspects of the emotional and social tone of everyday life in the workplace.
  • Organizational climate is seen to predict employees’ decisions and actions that are key to success in meeting the larger organization’s business goals, such as engagement, performance, productivity, innovation, decision to stay, discretionary effort, and learning efforts.

Organizational Culture:

  • Is a broad term that refers to the shared values, beliefs and worldviews of a group of people.

The article highlights that organizations generally understand the requirements filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act.  But beyond taking action of what is required by law, organizations are missing the core of it – The “social and emotional tone of the workplace.”

What are some possible obstacles to changing / creating your organization’s climate to foster disability inclusiveness?

The article mentions stigma around disability and “assumptions that must be overcome for people to feel safe to come forward when a disability arises,” write Hannah and Wendy.

How can your organization enhance disability inclusiveness through a company-specific organizational climate?

“It will take more than formal trainings and nice posters in the hallway to truly change organizational climates in ways that will enhance disability inclusiveness,” write Hannah and Wendy.

  • Start with asking questions. And not just transactional questions; ones that involve compliance and take on a business perspective. Be transformative – Ask questions such as:

How can we align our people, practices and our inclusion efforts with our business goals?

How can we create conditions so that everyone within the organization, including those with disabilities, are fully embedded in their jobs and included in the social connections in the workplace? 

How can we build trust so that our employees are willing to come forward when a disability impacts their job performance? 

  • Walking the talk: Top leadership commitment.  An organization’s leaders should put into place specific action items and measurable goals focusing on disability inclusiveness in the workplace.
  • Unconscious bias and organizational climate.  Your organization having guidelines and policies in place, as well as consistently implementing these policies as they relate to disability, can help prevent unconscious bias.

Want to learn of other ways your organization can take action to enhance disability inclusiveness?  You can read the full article here

Want to learn more about SimplyHome?  Contact our Customer Service Team toll free at (877) 684-3581 or email Info@simply-home.com.

Support without Intrusion: SimplyHome and the UCP NYC Summit

“…for so many people I meet, it is their support systems, not their support needs, that create the challenge.”

We’re excited to announce that our New York Partner, Meghan O’Sullivan, is presenting today at 2:30pm ET on behalf of SimplyHome at this week’s United Cerebral Palsy of New York City’s Family Connect Summit. “Addressing Today and Preparing for the Future” is being held at the New York Academy of Medicine and focuses on future changes and embracing technology.

Meghan will address the technology supports SimplyHome offers, including remote support and medication management. Most importantly, she’ll touch on why it’s so important for the industry to move into this direction of independence through technology.

The shift to technology to provide support calls for a fundamental change.  “It is the role of the organization to support the individual as a team member in achieving their desired outcomes,” says Meghan.

What is Assistive Technology?

The U.S. Assistive Technology Act of 2004 defines it as: “Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

At SimplyHome, it’s providing support without intrusion.

Meghan mentions the SimplyHome System providing remote support – How does this work?

The SimplyHome system uses sensors and a base unit (which can be setup via internet or a cellular connection) to notify contacts of specific activity pertaining to doors, windows, stoves, etc. For example, an individual might have stove sensors in place to help notify staff or family if the stove is being turned on in the middle of the night.

Sensors

How are remote supports implemented?

SimplyHome assesses the needs of the individual and creates customized, effective supports based on those needs. Once the sensors are installed, SimplyHome continues to provide ongoing 24/7 Customer Service.

Are you stuck in an old system?

There are effective funding options we’re happy to speak with you about, as well as an innovative team at SimplyHome to help you navigate how you can provide the path to independence for individuals.

Many of the stories we tell about individuals utilizing our technology to live independently are presented as a challenging story, but as Meghan says, “…for so many people I meet, it is their support systems, not their support needs, that create the challenge.”

To learn more about SimplyHome, contact our Customer Service team toll free at (877) 684-3581 or email customer.service@simply-home.com.

Transitioning to Technology: 2016 S.C. Human Service Providers Conference

“Last summer when I visited Ben, I got to sleep on his couch! I never thought I would be able to say that I had spent the week at my son’s place, but I DID!”

We’re excited to be part of the 2016 South Carolina Human Service Providers Conference, beginning tomorrow, March 9th in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  One of our providers we work closely with, the Charles Lea Center (CLC), will be speaking about their programs and how SimplyHome technology has enabled their residents to live independently.

Executive Director of CLC, Jerry Bernard, will be presenting “Integrating Assistive Technology in Supporting Individuals with Disabilities” from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.  Following the presentation, there will be a drawing for a Fibit. Have questions about something you learned? Stop by the SimplyHome booth!

Since 2010, CLC has been employing technology to assist individuals in moving towards becoming more involved in their community, beginning with living on their own.

independent living

What are specific ways CLC residents use SimplyHome technology in their homes?

As part of their “Community Transitional Services Program,” CLC utilizes SimplyHome technology to assist individuals in achieving independence in their homes, ultimately allowing residents to envision and live a safe, productive and healthier life.

CLC sensors

Many individuals use a variety of sensors with customized announcements and notifications to staff, such as stove sensors and door sensors.  Stove sensors allow individuals to cook their own meals, reminding them to turn off the stove and notifying staff if the stove is turned on during specific times of day.

Bed pads also can be programmed with announcements during customized times, to prompt individuals to leave their bed.

Medication Dispensers remind individuals to take their medication, while emailing / calling / texting staff if a dose is missed.

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) allow individuals to press a pendant if they fall or need assistance, alerting a call center, which can then call staff.

Ben is one individual at CLC who is able to live on his own by using SimplyHome technology.  But Ben isn’t the only one benefiting from this transition, as his mother can attest.  “Last summer when I visited Ben, I got to sleep on his couch! I never thought I would be able to say that I had spent the week at my son’s place, but I DID! And over the Christmas holidays, he rode the TRAIN from Spartanburg to Philadelphia (and back) BY HIMSELF.”

What are some ways CLC, as a provider, implemented SimplyHome technology?

  • Assessing the needs of individuals in their programs, by interviewing residents to determine their interest to live independently and considering their routines
  • Dedicating time and resources to teach individuals new skills
  • Training staff and incorporating individualized support teams within programs

Transition Home: Laura and Vicki

To learn more about SimplyHome, contact our Customer Service team toll free at (877) 684-3581 or email customer.service@simply-home.com.