Living with a Disability: Being Informed

In previous posts I have talked about working and living with a disability. This is something that so many people face and it is important to know that you are not alone. In my job I work with individuals to help them find employment but it is so much more than that as I have discovered over the years. My job also involves a lot of case management and getting to know individuals’ stories, as well as supporting them personally.

When a person is unemployed their concerns often involve: How do I support my family? How do I survive until I find something? When am I finally going to find a job? When a person is unemployed and has a disability they have to add: Am I being discriminated against? Do I tell employers I have a disability? What if I don’t and something happens to me at work?
It is important to know what your rights are if you are a person with a disability, to have a support group and to know what local agencies are there to help as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a great resource but for some people it may be hard to understand. Each state has a rehabilitation office that helps people with disabilities find employment and the resources they need. The local United Way or Goodwill is also often a good resource.

I came across an article today about a family whose young son was diagnosed with a rare disability. The father was speaking about how fortunate people with disabilities are in this country to have great resources and support. Times are also changing and discrimination isn’t as prevalent as people fear. The key now is to be informed. Here is an excerpt from the article I found, visit this link to read the rest: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/01/2013112143517543205.html

There has also been a positive evolution in American public culture. Disability rights organizations have grown in number and influence, and are doing their best to ensure that the country’s extensive laws are enforced. Disabled characters are increasingly common on popular television shows, such as Breaking Bad, Friday Night Lights, and Glee. Many Americans – from government officials, to school administrators, to bus drivers, to store clerks, and beyond – are coming to understand that disabilities are simply a part of life and need to be accommodated. […] People everywhere can usually count on help from family and friends, but Americans can count on more support from their government than is available in many other countries. The American approach to disability rights is progressive and inclusive, two words not often associated with health problems and American public policy. On behalf of Luke, I’d like to thank everyone who has fought for these rights, and everyone who continues to advocate for people with disabilities.

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