AskEARN | Attitudinal Awareness Skip to main content

Welcome to AskEARN’s new website. As we transition to our new site, you can still visit EARN’s previous site.

About EARN

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) offers information and resources to help employers recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; build inclusive workplace cultures; and meet diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) goals. 

Getting Started

Start here to learn how to recruit, hire, retain and advance people with disabilities; why workplace inclusion of people with disabilities matters; and how EARN’s resources can help.

A woman in a wheelchair addresses three colleagues around a small table

    Phases of Employment

  • A woman in a wheelchair shakes hands with a colleague


    Build a pipeline of talent that includes people with disabilities.

  • Two men work at repairing an engine.


    Identify people who have the skills and attributes for the job.

  • A woman with a disability wearing a helmet works in a factory


    Keep talented employees with disabilities, including those who acquire them on the job.

  • A man uses sign language to communicate.


    Ensure that employees with disabilities have equal opportunities for advancement.

Dinah Cohen Learning Center

EARN’s Learning Center offers a wide range of training resources, including self-paced online courses.

Woman using assistive technology on a computer workstation.

News & Events

EARN makes it easy to stay up-to-date on disability employment news and information. Start by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and eblasts, which will connect you to upcoming events, developing news and promising practices in the world of disability diversity and inclusion. And don’t forget to follow EARN on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

A smiling man with an earpiece sits in a wheelchair

Attitudinal Awareness

Negative attitudes and stereotypes about disability can hinder inclusion for all.

Often, the biggest barrier to workplace accessibility is not architectural in nature, but rather attitudinal.  Employees may have misconceptions about people with disabilities and the work they can do. Examples of such attitudinal barriers include:

  • Inferiority: The employee is seen as a “second-class citizen.”
  • Pity: People feel sorry for the employee and are patronizing as a result.
  • Hero Worship: People consider a person with a disability living independently to be “special.”
  • Ignorance: The employee is dismissed as incapable because of his or her disability.
  • Multi-sensory affect: People assume that the employee’s disability affects his or her other senses.
  • Stereotypes: People make both positive and negative generalizations about disabilities.
  • Backlash: People believe the employee is being given an unfair advantage because of his or her disability.
  • Denial: People may not believe that hidden disabilities are legitimate and therefore do not require accommodations.
  • Fear: People are afraid they will offend an employee with a disability by doing or saying the wrong thing and, as a result, will avoid the employee.

Employers can help break down attitudinal barriers in the workplace by engaging employees in discussions about disability and providing training to increase employees’ perspectives and understanding. Often, local disability service providers offer disability etiquette education and training. Additional resources include the Job Accommodation Network’s Disability Awareness to Increase Your Comfort, Confidence, and Competence, an online training with handouts that can be used for individual or group training, and the Campaign for Disability Employment’s PSA toolkits.

Phases of Employment

Recruit Hire Retain Advance

Related Content

inclusive culture