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Disability Narratives

Kevin has worked at the university for 18 months, having previously worked as a data analyst in the charity sector. Kevin was born with brittle asthma, and in 2008 was diagnosed with a cerebral cyst that affects his balance.

Image representing KevinBackground

at the time of the interview – 2016

Kevin is a Data Analyst in IT Services. He is single with no children.
Ethnic Background/Nationality: White-British.

Extended Biography

at the time of the interview - 2016

Kevin started work at the university 18 months ago, having previously worked in the charity sector. He is a data analyst who helps migrate data from one database to another.

Kevin was born with a severe form of asthma called brittle asthma. This can be life threatening as it can get worse very quickly, leaving him unable to breathe. Kevin said he has been hospitalised on numerous occasions and in the last 18 months has twice had to call an ambulance to his work. A number of factors can cause an attack, including exertion and smoking. Kevin said that until the smoking ban in 2007 he was restricted in where he could go socially, especially as many after work events would take place in areas where people would smoke.

In 2008 Kevin was diagnosed with a cerebral cyst in the part of the brain that controls balance, which can cause him to fall over. Kevin therefore has restricted mobility and walks with the aid of crutches. Kevin has to be careful where he walks and needs simple adjustments, like making sure there is lift access to meeting rooms. Kevin said that although he asked the university to buy him a backpack to help carry his laptop around, the process took too long and so he bought his own.

Kevin said that he prefers to mention his asthma in a job interview as wants to be open and honest about it from the start. He said he has not found this to be a hindrance, although this might be related to him being highly specialised in his field. He also said that it gives him an opportunity to evaluate his employer, as the usual response is "how can we help?" Kevin said that if they do not respond well to his disclosure it gives him pause for thought as to whether he wants to work there.

I personally feel that it's best for me to be open and honest from the start, say I have this condition. I've generally not found that really a hindrance when I've looked for work.

Kevin has found that his managers have been very helpful and understanding about his asthma and mobility issues. He said that when he started they moved his team from offices on the third floor to the second, as the lift only went to the second floor. Kevin said that to help highlight the limited access to the meeting rooms on the third floor there is now a flag that pops up when booking noting that there is no lift access.

Kevin said that he is happy to be responsible for letting people know about his disability, but understands that some people might struggle with this. Kevin said that it helps that his manager and team are open to his requests. Kevin said his managers have also been supportive by allowing him to work from home when needed and take sick days or have hospital appointments without question. Kevin said that his asthma causes him to have six to eight days off sick a year, which is only just above average.

Kevin's advice to other disabled people is to go and meet other disabled people and share experiences. He felt that sharing stories and information can be really helpful. Kevin's advice to managers and colleagues is to be open and approachable – he said having such an attitude helps, as he recognises that not everyone knows what adjustments can be put in place for different impairments or what different disabled people need.

Biography at the time of the interview - 2016