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Personal Stories

Please find below personal stories from the Warwick community.

If you'd like to share a personal story of experiencing disability please complete the form here.

 

Crohn's Disease

"I have Crohn's disease which is essentially inflammation on my bowel. My department have been brilliant at supporting my condition. They got me (and another colleague) a fridge to keep our medication in, I have a new standing desk to help with my chronic fatigue, there are lots of accessible disabled toilets in the building we're in and they let me work from home one day a week. My boss/colleagues are really understanding of my condition".

Rheumatoid Arthritis

"I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2002, having worked for the University for 13 years. Swollen, painful joints made it increasingly difficult to work in a laboratory environment and I was fortunate to be able to move to more office based work. I received a workstation assessment from Occupational Health and have since been provided with equipment to help my needs (e.g. an optical trackball, a narrower keyboard and voice activation software). This support from the University has been very helpful and has enabled me to continue working full time".

Dyslexia - Olivia Joyce

"It seems that dyslexia is still considered a disability associated with stupidity or lack of intellect. I was diagnosed in France, where I grew up, at the age of 17. Teachers just assumed that I struggled with both English and French and therefore did not pick up on this. I was also asked if I would prefer attending a ‘special school’ once I was diagnosed. I moved over to England to attend University and in 2014 I was awarded a 1st from Coventry University in Animal Science and Welfare. I began lecturing in 2014, I taught post 16 BTEC qualifications and first year veterinary nursing degree students. Throughout this time, I did not mention to my line manager or colleagues that I was dyslexic. I had to learn to hide it very well, dodging minute taking or avoiding reading out loud. I received my Diploma in Teaching and Training from the University of Warwick in 2017 with Outstanding in Teaching, still I felt uncomfortable admitting it to anyone. Once I decided to leave teaching, I started admitting that I was dyslexic (maybe it was because I didn’t care so much anymore), the reaction was not positive. Comments included – ‘how can you be a lecturer and be dyslexic?’, ‘You’re dyslexic but you teach?’. Needless to say these comment made it difficult to ever admit to any other employer that I have a learning disability.

I then started working in admin for an international company in Warwick. During the recruitment process, I was told that this sort of job would not suit someone with dyslexia. This affected my confidence but I persevered and got the job. I then had to start the process of hiding my disability. This was very stressful but I just about managed. I finished my one year maternity cover and then started working at the University of Warwick. I have never admitted on an application that I may need special requirements. I never thought that an employer would allow for extra time for an admin test and if they saw I was dyslexic automatically assume I couldn’t do the job.

Unfortunately, unconscious bias still exists and I wanted any employer to get to know me first before I admitted anything. Basically I wanted them to realise I could do the job regardless.

The Engineering Department at Warwick is the first place I’ve felt comfortable enough to talk about my dyslexia with colleagues and my line manager, and the response has been very positive".

You may also be interested in:

Disability Framework (workplace adjustments)

Taskforces and SIC - including Disability Taskforce

Policies - including the University's Disability Policy

Initiatives - including our booklet 'The Most Important Things People Want You To Know About Disability & Caring'

Training, Guidance, and Resources - including Disability Awareness training, Disability Guidance for line managers, and a collection of Disability Awareness Moodles

Charters - including Disability Standard