Funded by Skills for Care, Independent Lives and Disability Inclusion facilitated some person centred disability awareness workshops for employers and their PAs.

We've recapped a session for you below, to give an idea of what is discussed. 

Person-Centered Disability Awareness Training Session -  January 23 2019

Firstly, the group were asked why they thought training is important

They agreed that it was important for a number of reasons:

  1. Helps to prevent safeguardings from occurring
  2. Improves PA and employer relationship
  3. Raises profile of the job
  4. Helps an employer to understand their rights and responsibilities.

There was then an activity where the group were asked what they think the difference between a 'disability' and an 'impairment' is.

  • Not sure if there is a difference
  • One group member particularly doesn’t like the word disability
  • Thinks disability is more physical, impairment less obvious
  • Should there be an agreed upon term? Or no term at all?

The official definitions are as follows:


the functional limitation within an individual caused by a physical, mental or sensory condition.


the disadvantage or restriction of activity caused by society which takes little or no account of people who have impairments.

These definitions laid the groundwork for a discussion on the different models of disability, which are outlined below.

Medical model definition:

The ‘medical model’ sees the disabled person as the problem. We are to be adapted to fit into the world as it is. If this is not possible, then we are shut away in some specialised institution or isolated at home, where only our most basic needs are met. The emphasis is on dependence, backed up by the stereotypes of disability that call forth pity, fear and patronising attitudes. 
Usually the impairment is focused on, rather than the needs of the person. The power to change us seems to lie within the medical and associated professions, with their talk of cures, normalisation and science. Often our lives are handed over to them. - Richard Reiser

Social model definition:

The social model does not see the individual as the problem and involves everybody in identifying solutions. It is an equal opportunities approach, encourages cooperative problem solving and acknowledges disabled people’s rights to formal participation in society and participation as citizens. - Scope

The group explored both the positives and negatives of the social model, including inclusion of disabled children in mainstream schools and the evolution of spaces for disabled people and how funding plays a vital part in this.

This then led to a discussion on how to change people’s prejudices around disability. The group agreed that the key to changing prejudice starts in childhood and on the importance of educating children about disability.

 The employees in the group were then asked to list their top tips for building a good relationship with their new employer:

  • Match the pace of your employer – not the other way around
  • Listen to your employer and watch for signals
  • Supervision and regular catch ups are very helpful to discuss problems
  • Communication is the most important aspect of a working relationship
  • Organisation is very important. If things are written down this can help if there are multiple PAs

The group then completed a true or false exercise on disability which was ‘very helpful in dispelling myths’.

Example questions included:

Disabled people are brave and inspirational - True or False?

People with speech impairments appreciate having their sentences finished for them - True or False?

Someone who is paralysed has a poor quality of life - True or False?

This led to further discussion group members spoke about their personal experiences of disability.

If you employ your own care and support staff using a personal health budget, a social care budget or your own money, you may be able to for funding from Skills for Care individual employer funding or phone 0113 245 1716.

(This funding is only available for people aged over 18)

Photos from the session