According to WHO, “Down syndrome (DS) is a type of mental retardation caused by extra genetic material in chromosome 21. This can be due to a process called nondisjunction, in which genetic materials fail to separate during a crucial part of formation of gametes.” Due to their lack of skills and abilities, people with DS are often underestimated by business organisations. A study from World Down Syndrome Day found that companies still find it difficult to hire people with disabilities. For example, companies might have no access for communication or mindset barriers and lower average qualifications as DS people often have less formal education.
Nonetheless, not all company has the mindset of difficulty in hiring DS candidates. As mentioned by World Down Syndrome Day, 82 percent companies believe that by hiring individuals with Down syndrome, it will make teams more open to opinions and needs of clients, and often tries to satisfy these needs. 83 percent companies also agree that interacting with them has made direct superior more capable of managing and resolving conflict, and has made a positive contribution to people development.
Likewise, Inclusion evolution mentioned that “often employees with down syndrome and other cognitive disabilities are highly motivated, loyal, prompt, and exceptional at customer service. They often boost co-worker morale and productivity.” As consequence, this could help improve company’s bottom line. Teresa Raypole said to inclusion evolution that DS can quickly learn during their internship, meaning that all soft skills they never learn in high school can be mastered during that time.
Hence, although DS individuals have an intellectual disability, each of them has their own individual personality, strengths, and weaknesses that could be beneficial at work. They might have some common learning characteristics such as visual learning, verbal short-term memory impairment and verbal skills that are not reflective of cognitive ability. Thus, it is important to ensure that candidates with DS can understand what his job role is and apply appropriately.
Employing an individual with Down syndrome might not be easy, but according to Down Syndrome Australia, you could use these techniques during recruitment process to bring the best DS candidates into the workplace.
During recruitment and interview process
During orientation and training
It is vital to provide DS employee with adequate time for training and allow them to orientate themselves to work environment. Ordinary orientation process for all new employees can be carried out but with some adaptations to learning styles, as discussed below:
Lastly, “a well-structured program that sees to maximize mutual gains without ignoring the difficulties is enough to transform challenged into advantages. The result will be a positive impact, not only for the people with down syndrome, the companies that adopt this type inclusion, but also on society as a whole.” – McKinsey & Company