With the exception of some people who used wheelchairs for locomotion or were in recovery, I haven’t worked with many therapists who have had disabilities that I knew about.
We recently had a job applicant who was blind and I was wondering if any readers have had any experience employing psychotherapists that are blind or visually impaired. What sort of accommodations did you make, if any, and was there ever any reaction from patients?
I have generally assumed that vision was not necessarily a bona fide occupational qualification requirement for a therapist position, although since a lot of information is communicated non-verbally, I wonder if this has been investigated or legally determined.
Many years ago, when I was back in training as a school psychologist, one of our classmates had been severely burned as a youngster and, despite reconstructive surgery, still showed significant disfigurement from scarring. I wondered at the time how this might effect her ability to conduct psychological testing with school children. Was it fair to the kids to have this distraction, and, equally, was it fair for her to be excluded from her chosen profession?
Even more controversial, perhaps, is when, in a government-funded setting, a patient or client wants to change therapists because of a therapist’s age, gender, race, sexual preference, or disability. How is this to be decided and what issues and whose rights should take precedence?
It gets really convoluted when there are cases with more than one disability present, like when the person with the emotional support dog came into our transitional employment bookstore and plopped the dog in front of a disabled worker, who had health problems and severe allergies to dogs. In this case of dueling disabilities, who was discriminating against whom?