Down syndrome individuals might have an intellectual disability. However, each of them has their own individual personality, strengths, and weaknesses. They make our world of work more diverse. Politician Thomas Perez said, “Smart business is to have a diverse workforce – one in which many views are represented and everyone’s talents are valued. Well, disability is part of diversity.”
Like any other, employees with down syndrome (DS) are also a valuable investment. They have goals and ambitions to perform on their job better. In fact, employers can expect the best from employees with DS as they value practical expectations from the higher lines. McKinsey reported that employees with DS could better demonstrate their abilities when opportunities are offered. When they are given a chance, they are essential team members and could contribute far more than many expect.
David Eden, a DS employee at CBRE, shared his story that he is so proud and thankful to be one of the CBRE family. Eden told NDSS that having down syndrome does not define him as a person, albeit it took him years to prepare for employment.
“My first supervisor took it upon herself to teach me everything there was to know about being a clerk in the Distribution Center, and she believed in me,” Edan shared. Albeit the supervisor could hire someone to teach me, but she preferred to coach herself. She taught Edan to fill out a timesheet, establish a routine for the day and treated him like all employees. The company cared about Edan’s professional and personal development and that’s what makes him surpass his disability, turning it to valuable ability and investment for the employer.
Organisations can benefit from employing people with DS because they generally have characteristics that foster positive reactions in the workplace – something that can contribute to better organisational health. Their unique characteristics can drive other employees to work alongside with down syndrome colleagues on a daily basis.
Coworkers can also learn valuable lessons from employees with DS. One of the best lessons is their struggle and hard work. Down syndrome is a type of disability that is not yet widely accepted by many, thus, DS individuals often face discrimination and depression. Yet, more opportunities are available for education and employment today than ever before. People with down syndrome can be excellent employees and some employers have reported a higher satisfaction level among all workers when they have a co-worker who has down syndrome.