The Department for Education and Employment in the UK has now greatly improved their supply of information to and training of, the staff involved with helping those with hidden disabilities get work.
This is thanks in no small part to the hard work of Mike Fewster and Bob Breen from ADDept, the large Yorkshire based ADD/ADHD organisation which not only runs a large network of support groups and organises major conferences but campaigns vigorously all government departments, to improve the lives of those with hidden disabilities.
In the DfEE's latest letter of December 7th 2000 to Mike Fewster, John Dumelow writes:
When we spoke recently, I said that I would write to you again to tell you what progress had
been made following the discussions I had had with my colleagues in the Employment Service.
The following sets out what the Employment Service is doing to improve the service it delivers
to people with hidden disabilities, including ADHD.
You will be interested to know that Employment Service staff were issued with a Disability
Awareness open learning handbook in April 2000. This contains detailed information on hidden
disabilities such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism, mental illness and ADHD, and how they may
impact on employment. This handbook is designed to support Jobcentre staff gaining a broad
understanding of disability issues, and dealing with barriers to employment that people may
face. The handbook will be updated in January 2001, at which point ADHD co-ordinators are to
be included as a source of further information. In addition Jobcentre staff have networks of local
external organisations to contact on specific client issues.
I am informed by the Employment Service that training in Disability Awareness for Disability
Employment Advisers (DEAs) has been reviewed and strengthened and includes case studies
of people with hidden disabilities. DEAs are able to offer further guidance to ES staff as
appropriate on how specific disabilities may impact on employment.
There have also been significant improvements in the training of ES Occupational
Psychologists (OPs) and they are leading developments within the regions in the area of hidden
disabilities. For example, OPs have received improved training covering ways of helping people
with a range of specific learning difficulties. They also can give further guidance to ES Advisers on hidden disabilities as appropriate.
OPs and Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) work in partnership with a range of external organisations of and for disabled people, who are able to give general advice or specific help with individual clients. ES OPs have been working with specific organisations on projects to identify ways of improving the service to people with hidden disabilities.
I am sure that the measures taken by the Employment Service will lead to a continued overall improvement in the services they deliver to people with hidden disabilities. As you know, the Employment Service has to deliver high quality services to large numbers of people with a range of different needs. Although there are other groups for whom services are equally important, I am sure that the Employment Service is more aware now of the needs of those with hidden disabilities to access services and to receive any support necessary to ensure that they can benefit from the range of services available.
I hope this reply is helpful to you.
Policy Officer - Disability Employment
Thanks to ADDept, the Employment Service can now give much more support to those with hidden disabilities and understand better the difficulties they face in finding employment.