Navigating Reasonable Adjustments

Reasonable adjustments help to remove barriers for disabled scientists and to improve accessibility and inclusion within education and employment.

Often, the process of requesting reasonable adjustments can be lengthy and arduous. This can create additional barriers for disabled scientists.

Here are some tips to help make the process easier:

For individuals –

1. Apply in advance for reasonable adjustments, whenever possible.

2. Identify someone in your workplace/education setting that understands the reasonable adjustment process and can provide assistance.

3. Keep a file of relevant documents that can be used as evidence. This can include diagnosis letters and confirmation of prior or additional support awards.

4. When requesting evidence from your GP, it can help to write a brief letter listing your diagnoses and outlining the barriers you encounter. This can be in bullet point form and can assist your GP, as they can simply sign a declaration of support.

5. Remember that reasonable adjustments are not special treatment and exist to prevent you from being unfairly disadvantaged. It is also worth noting that you don’t need to have all the answers. The reasonable adjustment process often involves an assessment process where potential solutions are explored.

For businesses –

1. Provide employees with your reasonable adjustment procedures during onboarding rather than wait for a request to be made.

2. It isn’t just your HR professionals that need to be clued up about reasonable adjustments. Ensure that you provide training for your line managers too.

3. Foster a culture of flexible working. This can prevent disabled employees from encountering resentment from their colleagues for requesting reasonable adjustments.

4. When a reasonable adjustment request is made, take some time to learn more about the barriers your employee faces. There are a vast number of charities providing information across a wide range of disabilities. Some charities may also conduct workplace assessments or offer advice on potential reasonable adjustments.

5. Check that your reasonable adjustment procedures are working. If you don’t have a Disabled Staff Network to feedback and raise issues, consider setting one up. The NADSN – National Association of Disabled Staff Networks can help support you in creating or maintaining a Disabled Staff Network.

Have we missed anything? What are your top tips for reasonable adjustments?

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