Across all industries, people with disabilities can face physical and social barriers to employment. The development sector can, however, be particularly challenging, explains Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette, advocacy and policy researcher for the National Federation of the Blind. While he has always been up front in telling potential employers that he is a blind person, Hedtler-Gaudette acknowledges that doing so can result in fewer call backs.
“Misperceptions about the capacity and capabilities of people with all kinds of disabilities” are commonplace, Hedtler-Gaudette says. “In the development space, it’s even more pertinent.” He notes that there is an “attitude that people with disabilities can’t be out in the field or they can’t do certain things,” but he points out that these assumptions are often false.