Posted 14.04.2021

For the purposes of this article the participant will be called 'Ms Smith' as they wish to remain anonymous.

Workable NI Participant Ms Smith began her journey with Disability Action in November 2018.  

Ms Smith said:

I have suffered from an irritating dry right eye that was damaged following contracting Bell's palsy. Unfortunately, I didn't make a full recovery and this illness has left me with residue damage to my right eye. Along with this visual problem and pain in my eye I am also a moderate dyslexic and have struggled with this for many years especially as our world involves long hours of computer screen work with endless typing that, as you can imagine, I really struggle with.

Initially Ms Smith met with Workable NI Manager Miriam Bacon before being introduced to Workable NI Employment & Training Officer Colin Downey (pictured above), and a plan of action to support Ms Smith's disability was agreed.

Ms Smith said:

Mr Downey supported my endless struggle of 19 months until my employer provided the equipment (voice recognition dragon individual) and a large laptop and training that I desperately needed for my work. Throughout this time I was emotionally drained and depressed and Mr Downey not only sourced the assessment for my equipment and bespoke advice training but for the 19 months it took to arrive he was in continuous contact with my employer to stress the need. 

Like many disabled people there are times when we feel we are not being heard and not been taken seriously.  Mr Colin Downey supported me throughout this time; he met with me for updates on how my work was going and he gave me the confidence to address these issues with my employer.

Ms Smith now has the equipment in place and, whilst she is still waiting on training, her confidence has increased greatly, which she believes through time will continue to grow.

Without the support from Disability Action I probably would have resigned from my job as I was feeling so emotionally drained and incompetent. I can't thank the organisation, and in particular my adviser for Mr Colin Downey enough for his professionalism and his endless support throughout my journey.

Read more about how Colin and the Workable NI team supports disabled people and their employers in the workplace