Image of Liz a white woman with an intellectual and developmental disability is smiling wearing glasses.
Liz Weintraub has a long history of leadership in self advocacy, and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations. She is a full time member of the AUCD’s policy team and also the host of Tuesdays With Liz: Disability Policy For All, where she attempts to make polices in accessible language so policy is accessible to all.

With computers and email these days, it’s very common for people to work from home (WFH).  Some people love working from home. As there’s many advantages of working from home – less interruptions, you can work when you want to,  you don’t have to wear “work clothes” and the best part some people say is you can do laundry and other things in between doing work. In this policy talk, I will discuss why I think it is so difficult for me and maybe other people with disabilities to work from home.

There are several reasons:

  • Getting work done: For most people with disabilities, using computers is very hard and I am not alone. Because of the COVID-19 emergency, AUCD went to a “mandatory work from home policy”. I got scared and afraid. I feel very fortunate that my husband and my colleagues are supporting me when I run into trouble.  However, most of my friends don’t have that. Therefore, we should be working on supporting people with disabilities to make technology and work remotely accessible.  
  • Support:  Working from home can be scary for anyone especially if you don’t have the right kinds of supports.  I am concerned that some people with disabilities are not working during this emergency because people think it’s too difficult to support people with disabilities.
  • Connecting with people: Working from home can be very peaceful as no one is there to bother you.  But I am a social person, so working from home can be lonely.  It’s important to have some supports in place to call people especially if you need help or just want to chat during the day. For example, set up a virtual break with a friend or a colleague. I have had fun doing Facebook Live videos of me riding the bus virtually or calling my co-worker Sarah as I pass by her desk virtually.

My takeaways:

  • Working from home is difficult for everyone. It takes practice, but anyone can do if you have the right supports.  
  • Writing down directions is helpful.  
  • Call colleagues if you need help.
  • Calling colleagues to just chat can be useful if you are a social kind of person.
  • Working in a supportive environment makes all the difference.
  • BELIEVE that you CAN do this.

Like anything, I believe that employers should give people with disabilities the chance learn how to “work from home” just like everyone else.