Attributes of workplace PAs
How did your list of attributes compare to those of other people? Did you have many things the same?
Did you notice any differences between the attributes considered important by disabled people and those considered important by workplace PAs?
In our project we asked disabled people who have used a PA in their workplace what characteristics they looked for in their PAs. People described a range of skills and attributes that they looked for in a workplace PA. Many were similar to those desired in home-based PAs (such as reliability, a compatible personality and confidentiality), but relevant practical skills, such as driving, filing or use of particular computer software, were also considered by some to be essential to assist them in their work.
Some people thought it was useful if their PA was familiar with how their work environment operated (for example a school, university or theatre). However, not everyone thought this was necessary, and others expressed concern that a PA with work experience in a similar environment may be inclined to ‘take over’ aspects of their role.
All considered it vital for PAs to understand their role as enabling and empowering (rather than ‘caring for’) the disabled person. This was an important element in ensuring the boundaries were not blurred between the disabled person’s own job and the PA’s support role.
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