Employers urged to be patient with the intellectually disabled
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
EMPLOYERS ARE being called upon to exercise more patience with employees living with intellectual disabilities (ID).
Executive director of the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID), Christine Rodriquez, made the call as she commented on the new Social and Economic Inclusion Programme which started in June of this year. Some 70 young people with ID are being trained for employment under the 10-month programme.
The programme is funded by the Japanese government through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, and is being executed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Rodriquez said one of the lessons that the association is learning is that persons with ID need adequate support, adding that employers should be willing to make adjustments.
"A normal worker might need to be instructed two or three times, however, a persons living with ID might need eight to 10 instructions in order for a particular task to become a habit," she said.
"What we might find, however, is that employers will sometimes make wrong assessments of an employee not knowing that they needed to be clearer in their instructions, and so we realise small things develop into bigger issues," Rodriquez said.
"Bad habits are bad habits, whether you are challenged or not, so I don't want to be misunderstood. But what we have to understand is that, it's about making little adjustments that will not come at any cost. At the end of the day, it is important that these persons receive the necessary support because once they get the hang of things they will do well," she continued.
She also noted that it is imperative that work begins in the homes as bad habits are oftentimes entrenched in that space.
"Parents tend to shelter children with these challenges, so when it rains, for example, they don't send them to school. This habit is then taken into the workplace [with them] not knowing that they can be fired. We have to continue public education and build a strong foundation as early as possible," the director told The Gleaner.
"Also, we don't have the large cadre of social workers that exists in developed countries and so it is important that we place a lot of emphasis on building the family and ensuring that parents are enlightened and educated as to how they can play their part in uplifting the lives of persons who are living with these challenges," she charged.