Monday, April 27, 2015

When you Need to Speak Up

I went to a campus disability meeting where I work. Normally they have two meetings a year. I normally do not attend these meeting but recently their has been changes to the buildings that have been affecting me personally. During these meeting you can discuss obstacles such as building issues, parking, issues with getting access to items you need to do your job etc. I know they used to have these doors that I enter that would open automatically but due to other issues they removed them. They put these new doors on but the issue I have had issue with is the fact that Duchess can't push the button to open the doors. The button is so stiff she even after several tries can't get the button to work. I know some morning my hands are so stiff that pushing the button is painful. I know I have to jam my hand into the button to get it to work and the building next door same issue. I know that the disabled woman with a service dog who works for the disability office had the same issues. I am really glad I spoke up because they have determined that others must be having similar issues so they will make modifications to the doors so Duchess can be able to push the button without problems.

I know I don't have Duchess do it every day but I know since my last flare-up I have been having more issues with my hands. I know some fine movements are not what they used to be so I am trying to make things as simple as possible and getting a door fixed seems like the way to go. I know the other disabled woman's service dog could not open the doors at either location either and this dog is a good 18 pounds heavier than Duchess. I also discussed that I felt the University did not offer enough information for departments who have service dogs teams in their departments.

I know the disabled woman said she had quite a bit of information about service dogs and information that could have been helpful. I mentioned that I felt like my Managers are always so busy it would be inconvenient for them to have to meet with her to get that information. I recommended that they put information online for departments because of all of the issues I have experienced. I actually discussed how they had to build me a door on my cubicle because of complaints that Duchess's dog bones did not look professional. The man who actually created the door was present at the meeting and his boss. I know they said from their perspective normally they don't have to build walls or other things. I know my issues have been mainly because I feel people did not understand that I don't get special treatment. I actually do my job and all required of me like any other employee.  The good part is now the University will be adding a section of information for departments and others about service dogs in the workplace.

I know this meeting had two of us disabled participants and the rest was staff involved with the disabilities office. I know people did attend the previous meeting so there was just us two and we both have had issues with different aspects. I know I found it very difficult to speak up and say that I was having issues but I am really glad I did. I am hoping these improvements will help others at the University and that it may also help other service dog teams. I know when there is only I think around 4 service dog teams that our staff and the remaining our students it leaves us with such a small number of people. I know speaking up made me feel like I was whining when I was actually having real issues.

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