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Misconceptions about people with disabilities

These statements are false:

  • Never say the word, “see,” to persons who are blind.
  • People who are deaf, cannot speak.
  • Look and talk directly to the person.
  • People with disabilities are less intelligent.
  • You must speak louder to a person who is deaf or blind.
  • People with epilepsy swallow their tongues
  • People with mental illness are to be feared.
  • People with epilepsy can’t drive.
  • People who are deaf do not drive.
  • People who are mentally retarded can’t learn.
  • People in wheelchairs need/want help.
  • Blind people don’t watch television.
  • People who are deaf are all efficient lip readers.
  • People with quadriplegia are unable to have children.
  • People with developmental disabilities do not work.
  • People with cerebral palsy are mentally retarded.

Misconceptions About Hiring Workers with Disabilities Linger Among Nation’s Employers —Demonstrating Need for Policies to Promote Understanding,Opportunity

A national survey of U.S. employers finds misconceptions and confusion about the costs and barriers of hiring people with disabilities. Only one-fourth of employers say their firm employs at least one worker with a physical disability or mental illness, the survey finds. Less than half (40%) of employers provide training to their employees regarding working or providing accommodations to people with disabilities. Employers are also resistant to hiring workers with disabilities because of their discomfort in having these workers, their concerns about costs, or their belief that such workers do not have the skills to perform particular jobs.

The vast majority of employers who have hired a worker with disabilities, however, report the cost of accommodating these workers is often less than or about the same as expected. The majority (61%) of employers indicate that the average cost of accommodation was only $500 or less. In fact, nearly three-quarters of employers who have hired workers with disabilities report that they did not require accommodations of any kind. Misconceptions about the cost of hiring workers with disabilities are reflected by the large number (40%) of employers overall who maintain that it can be difficult or costly to provide accommodations to workers with disabilities.

The new survey and report, Restricted Access: A Survey of Employers About People with Disabilities and Lowering Barriers to Work, is the fourteenth in the Work Trends survey series founded in 1998 by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers. This sur-vey was funded in part by the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy. The survey sought the opinions of the nation’s employers regarding their views on people with disabilities in the workplace.

The survey finds that physical accessibility to the workplace is a minor barrier. The majority (85%) of employers agree that their company is physically accessible to employees with disabilities, with 59% strongly agreeing. Some employers have benefited from making additional changes to their workplaces and business practices to better attract and accommodate workers with disabilities, with nearly half (49%) of employers say that they have made recruiting and interviewing locations accessible.