Disabilities can look different from person to person, and some are not visible at all. Adobe strives to provide a supportive, inclusive environment with a variety of services for every employee.
In recognition of Disability Employment Awareness Month and in the pursuit of making the workplace accessible to all, three AccessAdobe employee network members spoke about their experiences and shared recommendations on how to respect and support others with disabilities.
Rani Mani, Head of Social Influencer Enablement
Rani’s physical disability requires her to use a walker, but that doesn’t hold her back.
Some disabilities aren’t easy to detect, such as chronic pain, learning differences and mental health disorders, and people with these disabilities also deserve empathy and support.
“’Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is very appropriate for disabilities. I’m fairly certain that everyone is dealing with something that makes going through life challenging at times,” Rani said. “Like most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all face, name or personality to disability. Stay away from assumptions and generalizations, but don’t stay away from the person because you don’t want to be awkward or offensive.”
Rakesh Paladugula, Computer Scientist, Software Apps
While living with vision impairment keeps Rakesh from doing certain things, it has never made him feel completely restricted.
“Life with disability is not doing different things, it is about doing things differently,” Rakesh shared. “A typical day for me is to challenge the challenges and complete my work for the day.”
Lauren Gardner, Program Manager, Customer Experience
Lauren has cerebral palsy, a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture, as well as a connective tissue disorder. This causes her to have poor balance as she walks around the office. “Any little crack in the pavement could mean a tumble. This includes walking on the shiny tile floors that are in most of our offices, because they catch the rubber on my shoes and trip me up,” Lauren said. A simple slip could cause her painful symptoms to flare up. Fortunately, Adobe has ways to support her.
“With flexible working hours and the option to work from home when needed, I can spread out my day to better manage my symptoms. It’s this sort of flexibility in the workplace that would allow many others to enter the workforce, and I am so grateful to have these options available to me at Adobe,” Lauren shared.
Just as the company supports employees with disabilities, coworkers can help too. Just ask and listen to what your colleagues need. “Be observant and listen; it’s OK to ask if I need help with something, but if I say no, I’d like to be heard,” Lauren said.
Adobe is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage diversity in the workplace regardless of race, gender, religion, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability or veteran status. For a full list of our open opportunities, visit our career site!
Featured image by Wren Sauer