Discussing One’s Disability

This is a great article that appeared in Forbes. It lays out both the positive and the negatives for a person with a disability to discuss their disability with others. The biggest takeaway for me is that the decision is a deeply personal one and the only person who should make that decision is the person who has the disability. No person with a disability should feel obligated to share or be shamed for not sharing.

I spent many years working to assist people with disabilities to go to work in jobs for which they were qualified. We had so many discussions on disclosure; when to disclose; what to disclose; how much to disclose. For folks with a more apparent physical disability, that discussion was even more important. In determining whether a candidate has the qualifications to meet the requirements of the job, along with the other desired intangibles, the disability in and of itself is irrelevant. However, employment candidates with disabilities often said that they were completely aware of the “elephant in the room” during some interviews. What seemed to work best for these candidates was to discuss their disability only as it related to their capacity to perform the job and, if applicable, compensatory strategies that they used successfully. Disclosing details about the disability beyond that again become a personal decision.