Monday, September 21, 2009

ADA: Miscommunication

I think many cases of discrimination are not intentional, but caused by stupid things such as miscommunication between people within an organisation. This is especially true for organisations without a clear structure on how to deal with all aspects. Organisations are bombarded with things they have to think about, react to, and each time, they have to do it right. Well, sometimes, that fails. Volunteer organisations are especially sensitive to this, as most volunteers learn on the job when it arises how to deal with specific aspects. And generally there is nothing wrong with that, unless that leads to for example discrimination of someone.

Good communication within an organisation is essential when someone asks for accommodation for a disability. From the initial request, such a request has to be passed on to the proper functionaries within that organisation, and they then have to act on it. This requires good communication between people. When this fails, the responsible functionaries can be genuinely ignorant about the request. When said functionary than moves on and ignore the request, the disabled person will feel unheard at least and might feel discriminated when the outcome is that the disabled person is for example excluded.

Miscommunication is not the end of the world. Shit happens. It becomes a big deal when it is defended, when the results of the miscommunication are attributed to the disabled person. That adds substantial grievance to the situation.

Fortunately, miscommunication can be dealt with. Once it is obvious that there was miscommunication, apologizing for it and straightening out what has gone wrong is often the only things what is needed. However, when that is not done, it add insult to injury and aggrevates the situation.

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