Thing You Need to Know About Autism

  • August 23, 2017

    Thing You Need to Know About Autism

    Article from The Babble Out

    I first began to research autism when my daughter Daisy was diagnosed. We’d had her examined by a neurologist at age five, but that first doctor said she didn’t have enough autistic behaviors to label her as autistic. Naturally, I worried about her. Would she struggle in school? Would she ever be able to make friends among her peer group?

    If you are worried that your child is developing abnormally or that something does not feel right with him or her, the first thing you need to know is what autism is. First of all, people with autism are not necessarily of low intelligence. In fact, when my daughter Daisy was diagnosed, her doctor said Daisy does not have a learning disability and that her IQ score is quite normal for an elementary school kid.

    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is as a neurodevelopment disorder. Those who are deemed autistic tend to exhibit repetitive behaviors and trouble with social interaction. ASD affects millions of people world-wide, and the disorder is found in all racial and ethnic groups. Boys tend to be more likely to develop autism than girls. Signs of the disorder are present, in most people with autism, by the age of two. According to the research, autism is a fairly common disorder, and it is estimated that 1 in 68 American kids fall within the autism spectrum.

    However, every autistic person is different. Signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Some people with autism fall on the obviously autistic side of the spectrum. In these severe cases, an autistic person might be unable to develop language and be susceptible to temper tantrums. They might also have a hard time socializing with others. On the other end of the spectrum are kids like my daughter Daisy, ones who blend in with their peer group and function relatively well in everyday life.


  • August 10, 2017

    Putting Your Career in Gear

    Putting Your Career In Gear is a unique and flexible pre-employment 30-week program that has been specifically designed for persons with developmental disabilities. This program is funded by Alberta Community and Social Services. It is an individualized program where clients attend specialized workshops, and work one on one with counselors towards fulfilling their employment goal, with the end result being employment.  Referrals are welcomed from interested individuals, Disability Services, and community organizations/agencies.

    The ‘Putting Your Career In Gear’ offers six weeks of Employability Skills Workshopsinclusive of:

    – Individualized Employment Preparation
    – Effective and Realistic Goal Planning
    – Resume and Interview Preparation
    – Introduction to Computers
    – Customer Service Certification

    Services also includes: job search, job coaching, and job retention supports

    Intake is ongoing, 8:30 – 4:30 Monday to Friday

    Drop in today to the Career and Employment Center at: 4th floor, 10909 Jasper Ave, Edmonton or call 780-423-4106  (Toll Free 1-800-785-6539).

  • July 30, 2017

    Truth or Myth About Hiring People with Disabilies

    Certain jobs are more suited to people with disabilities. 

    Myth. Like anyone else, people with disabilities should be match to a job based on their knowledge, skills, abilities and interests.

    Our work environment will be less safe if we bring in an employee with a disabilities.

    Myth. There is no increased risk from employing people with disabilities. Nevertheless, it is wise to conduct an assessment of the safety issues associated with a particular position and introduce any reasonable accommodations to reduce or remove risk.

    It would be rude to try to shake hands with someone whose right hand was obviously limp or impaired.

    Myth. It is not rude, but if the person’s right hand hangs limp, it would be preferable to offer your left hand.

    Typically, the cost of accommodating a person with a disability is relatively low.

    Truth. Most workplace accommodations can be introduced for $500 or less.

    Someone in a wheelchair is not going to be able to perform tasks that involve climbing or lifting.

    Neither myth or truth. It will depend on the nature of the tasks, the person’s physical strengths and the accommodations or assistive technology available to that person. Each case must be considered individually.

    At least two-thirds of all people with disabilities want to work.


    Human Rights legislation makes it harder to fire someone with a disability whose performance isn’t up to standard.

    Myth. The same standards of job performance should apply to all employees, whether or not they have a disability. However, a person with a disability may need specific accommodations in order to perform all job-related tasks to the required standard. These needs must be taken into account at hiring and as changes occur over time, either in the disability or the job requirements.

    Our insurance costs will increase if we hire someone with a disability.

    Myth. As with question 2, the risk is no higher, so insurance costs are not affected.

    It is important to place a person with a disability in a job where he or she will not fail.

    Myth. It would be patronizing to take such an approach. See number 1.

    The rate of absenteeism for employees with disabilities is no higher than for other employees.


    For more information about hiring people with disabilities, contact us!

  • July 17, 2017

    Microsoft Has a New Narrator App for the Visually Impaired

    Microsoft has released Seeing AI a smartphone app that uses computer vision to describe the world for the visually impaired. With the app downloaded, the users can point their phone’s camera at a person and it’ll say who they are and how they’re feeling. They can also point it at a product and it’ll tell them what it is. All of this is done using artificial intelligence that runs locally on their phone.


  • July 05, 2017

    Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation

    EmployAbiltiies Executive Director Jason Loewer and Faye Elliott, Program Director attended a presentation from The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation at the Coyote Lake Lodge, a fully accessible lodge for individuals with disabilities.
    The delegation from Hong Kong were part of a tour to build partnerships for accessible travel from Hong Kong to Alberta.
  • June 29, 2017

    Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Person With Disabilities

    Article from Sandy’s View

    Read full article here – 

    1. People with disabilities are reliable employees and have an overall higher job retention rate.

    Many studies have shown that people with disabilities take less absence days, and that they are more likely to stay on the job longer than non-disabled workers.

    1. Employees with disabilities are less likely to get into work related accidents.

    Two studies, one from the Department of Labor Statistics during the 1940s and a more recent one from the DuPont company concluded that workers with disabilities had a significantly higher performance in the area of safety than their counterparts without disabilities. In other words, employees with disabilities are more aware and conscientious of safety in the workplace. Both studies looked at different types of jobs, including labor, operational, managerial, clerical and service areas.

    1. Businesses that hire people with disabilities may receive tax credits or other incentives.

    Eligible businesses can receive certain tax credits to aid them in hiring and accommodating workers with disabilities. Many of these credits are awarded for expenses incurred in things like purchasing adaptive equipment for workers with disabilities, or covering the costs of any modifications needed to make the building accessible.

    1. Workers with disabilities will increase diversity in the workplace.

    Both workers with and without disabilities benefit equally from a diverse work setting. By working alongside employees with disabilities, individuals who are not disabled will become more aware about how to make the workplace and other settings more inclusive and accessible to everyone. They might consider things they had never thought of before, such as the accessibility challenges faced by people with disabilities. Employees with disabilities can also teach their coworkers about creativity and other ways to solve problems or accomplish different tasks.

    1. People with disabilities are as capable as anyone else!

    This is the most simple, but difficult reason for employers to understand about hiring workers with disabilities. Unfortunately, employers often refuse to hire individuals with disabilities, simply because they believe we are not capable of doing the job, or because they are unaware about the many adaptive techniques and devices that are available and allow us to work. Like anyone else, we apply to jobs we believe we are qualified for and capable of doing.

    Read full article here –

  • June 20, 2017

    For public servants with disabilities, some tools of the trade out of reach

    Article from CBC News

    Thousands of federal public servants across Canada are unable to utilize internal government software programs and websites because they’re inaccessible to people with a range of disabilities.

    The problem has led to job losses, grievances, a human rights complaint and, as one lawyer suggests, opens the door to a potential court challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Abigail Shorter has a masters degree in public administration and 14 years of experience inside the federal government, but when her position was declared surplus a couple years ago, she found her inability to use certain computer programs left her out of the running for another public service job.

    “I found myself less and less marketable and my time ran out and I lost my job,” said Shorter, who has a learning disability and difficulties using a computer and mouse.

    “I’m not the only one that’s happened to.”

    Other government workers with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, cognitive issues or impaired vision face similar barriers when it comes to using some government applications.


  • FAQs from Employers About Hiring a Person with Disabilities

    Article from NEADS

    Access to Success: A Guide for Employers

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Employers

    By Neil Faba on NEADS

    This section is intended to provide brief, informative answers to some questions employers may have regarding the hiring of people with disabilities. It was developed by consulting a variety of references and sources, including reports from NEADS’ Student Leadership and Employment Forums that have been held across Canada in the last two years. The reports on these forums are available on the NEADS Web site: More detailed information can be found by consulting the resources and organizations mentioned throughout this guidebook. Employers with questions about hiring people with disabilities may also contact NEADS directly for help in finding answers.

    Why should I hire people with disabilities?

    The short answer is that, while they may require certain accommodations in order to fulfill job duties, people with disabilities can do the job. 1996 Census figures show that more than one-third of Canadians with disabilities have some form of post-secondary education – 26 per cent with college diplomas, and 7 per cent with university degrees – and this number is on the increase. Despite this, the number of unemployed people with disabilities is significantly higher than those without disabilities. According to a recent joint federal and provincial government report, entitled In Unison 2000: Persons with Disabilities in Canada, 43 per cent of persons with disabilities were participating in the labour market in 1995, only about half that of people without disabilities.

    Hiring people with disabilities can create a feeling among all employees that their employer is truly inclusive and forward thinking, which can only have positive implications for workplace morale. Further, companies with disabled employees may help to attract customers with disabilities, increasing business.

    The ability to secure meaningful employment is vitally important for people to feel like full participants within society. People with disabilities deserve the opportunity to participate in the labour force, and employers, clearly, would be remiss in overlooking this group of potential employees.

    What types of jobs can people with disabilities do?

    People with disabilities are capable performers in the employment market. The availability of workplace accommodations, where required, and the willingness of management and fellow employees to allow people with disabilities to perform to their maximum ability, are the only things most people with disabilities require.

    It is important to keep in mind that, while people with disabilities often have some form of post- secondary education, they do not always have the practical training and employment experience of those without disabilities. This is due in large part to the fact many of those with disabilities do not have summer employment or part-time jobs during school months, for a variety of reasons. However, if given the opportunity to succeed, people with disabilities excel in the workplace. Employers can utilise the abilities and education that people with disabilities possess, by offering internships and co-op placements. We encourage organizations to register with the NEADS Online Work System (NOWS) at, which helps employers and job-seekers with disabilities connect. At the same time, Ability Edge ( offers excellent internship opportunities with national companies.

    I want to hire people with disabilities. Where should I look to find qualified candidates?

    The simple answer is that qualified job seekers with disabilities can be found anywhere those without disabilities can. That said, there are certain things to keep in mind, and resources that may be of use, if employers are seeking to advertise specifically to those with disabilities. First, employers looking to hire should ensure that the methods being used to advertise employment vacancies are inclusive. This means making sure job advertisements are written in such a way as to demonstrate your willingness to consider job seekers with disabilities. Employers should present postings in alternate formats (large-print, Braille, etc.) to reach all candidates. Secondly, investigate venues that provide ready access to a group of qualified people with disabilities, through which you can advertise employment opportunities. Good places to look include post-secondary disability resource centres and student groups, and community organizations that assist people with disabilities to find jobs. Some of these organizations are profiled in this guide. Finally, many campus career centres are more than willing to help employers reach an audience of qualified people with disabilities.

    Will a job candidate disclose a disability before I hire him or her?

    Just as all disabilities are different, and have different impacts depending on the person, the decision to disclose a disability varies from individual to individual. Certain candidates may disclose when an interview is granted, if they require an accessible interview location, or accommodation during that first meeting with an employer. Others, primarily those with mobility impairments, may have visible disabilities and decide not to mention them for that reason. Still others have invisible disabilities, and depending upon the nature of the disability may not be comfortable discussing it in an interview.

    Whether a job candidate chooses to disclose a disability before or during an interview, or after the position has been offered to them, it is important for the employer to listen to the information being disclosed, and to make it clear to the individual that the company is willing to ensure any accommodations that might be needed will be put in place, in order for the employee to fully and effectively operate in the workplace.

    What do I do if I am presented with accommodation needs?

    A common misconception is that workplace accommodations are expensive for the employer. On the contrary, many of the accommodations sought by people with disabilities are easy to fulfill, and cost little or no money. Some employees may require a modified workstation, technology such as a TTY or software to increase on-screen text size, or simply a modified work schedule to allow for medical treatments.

    Accommodations that may be larger in scope or expense, such as the inclusion of a ramp outside a building, or installing an accessible restroom, may be eligible for funding assistance through government grants or programs set up by non-profit organizations for people with disabilities. Information on some of these programs and organizations can be found in this guidebook.

    How do I prepare my staff to work with a new employee with a disability?

    In certain workplaces, an employee with a disability will be able to simply fit into the environment and no special consideration need be considered to prepare staff. In other situations, there may be a need for staff to be prepared with information and ideas before a person with a disability begins a position. Whether the employer chooses an informal information session or more formal sensitivity training, the key goal is to prepare staff to work harmoniously. Various organizations – the Ontario March of Dimes, for one – provide assistance to employers seeking to arrange sensitivity training sessions for employers. Consult the organizational profiles in this guide to find other groups that offer such services.

  • June 15, 2017

    Myths & Facts About Hiring People with Disabilities

    There are many myths about hiring people with disabilities. Unfortunately, this is costing good, qualified people the chance for meaningful employment. Although some of these statistics come from the United States, it is still a good display of myths vs. facts when it comes to disability employment.

    Article from the National Service Inclusion Project


    Hiring employees with disabilities increases workers compensation insurance rates.


    Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience, not on whether workers have disabilities.


    Employees with disabilities have a higher absentee rate than employees without disabilities.


    Studies by firms such as DuPont show that employees with disabilities are not absent any more than employees without disabilities.


    People with disabilities are inspirational, courageous, and brave for being able to overcome their disability.


    People with disabilities are simply carrying on normal activities of living when they work at their jobs, go grocery shopping, pay their bills, or compete in athletic events.


    People with disabilities need to be protected from failing.


    People with disabilities have a right to participate in the full range of human experiences including success and failure. Employers should have the same expectations of, and work requirements for, all employees.


    People with disabilities have problems getting to work.


    People with disabilities are capable of supplying their own transportation by choosing to walk, use a car pool, drive, take public transportation, or a cab. Their modes of transportation to work are as varied as those of other employees.


    People with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards, thus making them a bad employment risk.


    In 1990, DuPont conducted a survey of 811 employees with disabilities and found 90% rated average or better in job performance compared to 95% for employees without disabilities. A similar 1981 DuPont study which involved 2,745 employees with disabilities found that 92% of employees with disabilities rated average or better in job performance compared to 90% of employees without disabilities.


    People who are deaf make ideal employees in noisy work environments.


    Loud noises of a certain vibratory nature can cause further harm to the auditory system. People who are deaf should be hired for all jobs that they have the skills and talents to perform. No person with a disability should be prejudged regarding employment opportunities.


    Considerable expense is necessary to accommodate workers with disabilities.


    Most workers with disabilities require no special accommodations, and the cost for those who do is minimal or much lower than many employers believe. Studies by the Job Accommodation Network have shown that 15% of accommodations cost nothing, 51% cost between $1 and $500, 12% cost between $501 and $1,000, and 22% cost more than $1,000.

    Read full article here – 

  • June 03, 2017

    Canada’s new accessibility laws should focus on employment

    Article from the Toronto Star

    The priorities, which were laid out in a report and released by the federal government Monday, summarize eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast.

    Public consultations on Canada’s first national law for disabled people have identified high unemployment rates, inaccessible buildings and barriers in transportation as some of the key issues that need to be addressed.

    The priorities were laid out in a report, released by the federal government Monday, summarizing eight months of consultations held with Canadians from coast to coast.

    It says participants wanted to see laws that would help lower stubbornly high unemployment rates for those with disabilities, reduce the number of buildings inaccessible to those with physical and intellectual disabilities, and remove accessibility barriers for the country’s air, rail, ferry and bus transportation systems.

    Those consulted also named government program and service delivery, information and communications and procurement of goods and services as key areas of focus.