Disability in 2016

1 Mar 2016

Having been born with Cerebral Palsy, I know what disability feels like. I feel very strongly that not enough is still being done to get disability out into the public domain and to keep it there. Unfortunately, disability is just one area in society that is being overlooked.

Statistics based on U.S. findings, report that nearly one in five people, including family, friends, co-workers and neighbours live with a physical or developmental challenge, but those challenges may not always be obvious. Out of 56 million Americans who report their disability approximately half are working-age adults.

According to the US Census Bureau only about 12 million are currently employed. There needs to be far more acceptance of disability before disabled people make it into the work place. Unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to disability and until attitudes change, very little will change for disabled people, in society or in the workplace.

Although people may not buy into the stigma theory around disability, if the shoe were on the other foot, they would see for themselves why it’s still there. Only when we walk in another person’s shoes, do we see life from another person’s perspective.

Unless society changes its perceptions about disability, very few people with disabilities will find employment. For those with a disability who are lucky enough to be in work, they worry their opportunity for advancement will be limited long term, because of people’s continued perceptions on disability in the workplace and how those people with disabilities will cope with their disability in the work scenario.

Although we have made some railroad, attitudes and perceptions around disability are keeping the world stuck. We need to have more encouragement from society and employers alike, who will embrace people with disabilities and the disability culture as a whole.

In order to help people with disabilities we need to talk about disability. Perhaps disability needs to be seen as normal. The irony is we are normal but a different normal. But without that happening I see very little change.

10 Responses to “Disability in 2016”

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  1. Maria Lunde 01. Mar, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

    I believe as people with disabilities, we need to put ourselves out there; get out and do activities among society. That way people get used to seeing people with disabilities.

    Being self assured while we are among others, will help too.

    • Ilana 01. Mar, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks Maria. Yes it definitely would help for people with disabilities to get out there. People with disabilities tend to work amongst other people with disabilities.

      To be honest I’m not quite sure how much railroad people with disabilities have made in an able bodied world. I do agree with you that getting ourselves out there is the key.

      It’s the only way the world will know we’re serious about inclusion in an able-bodied world.

  2. Bonnie Strickland Johns 01. Mar, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    I definitely agree and I’d be the first person out there!! If we all stood together to bring awareness to the world that we struggle and dream and think like able bodied people, (some have it harder than others) perhaps we would be included as “normal.”

    I don’t know about you, but my disability is either overlooked or I’m not “capable” enough. I think we all here on the diary need to brainstorm together and think of ideas how to do this.

    Many of us are in different countries, so it’s hard for us to get together to do it.

    • Ilana 01. Mar, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

      Thanks Bonnie. I believe you’re more than capable and you will have your strengths. It’s just a case of honing in on those strengths and putting yourself out there.

      People dealing with a disability are often overlooked. The biggest problem is people’s misconceptions. When they see people in wheelchairs, they think that they’re incapable. Some people genuinely don’t get it; others don’t understand and other people are in total ignorance.

      Nicky Chapman, a Disabled Person’s campaigner, who went to the same college as I did and who was wheelchair bound, made it into the House of Lords. Unfortunately she died a few months ago.

      I truly believe though, that until people’s perceptions change, disability can’t change. In my lifetime will I see a difference? I hope so.

      We just have to do what we can do in the hope that we get people’s attention. That way attitudes will change.

  3. Tim 01. Mar, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    I think word disability should be replaced with the word human being, since everyone is beautifully imperfect and noticeably disabled in something. It’s people with impoverished minds who separate and categorize us into exclusion.

    We’ve been brainwashed to what it really means to be normal; so we need to judge what we approve and what we reject from the common culture.

    • Ilana 02. Mar, 2016 at 7:48 am #

      Thanks Tim. Yes I agree, but would also add. There are imperfections and there is disability. We’re all imperfect, but we’re not all disabled.

      Unfortunately, it’s the gap between these two that bring about misjudgments, preconceived ideas and prejudice in the workplace, in society and in the world.

      I would say all of those things need to be broken down, before we can begin to see disability with equality.

  4. Bonnie Strickland Johns 02. Mar, 2016 at 6:46 am #

    Thank you. I love your ideas and view points Ilana. You’re so smart! As many of us with these disabilities including myself, have been overlooked.

    I might just request teaming up with my kids school nurse and come up with other ideas along with her, to bring about a campaign. That’s amazing about the lady you told me about. I’m sorry to hear about her passing. What an amazing person and story!

    • Ilana 02. Mar, 2016 at 7:36 am #

      Awww thanks Bonnie. It’s funny, but I remember seeing Nicky in her power chair, didn’t really know her because she was older than me and it wasn’t until her story made it into the papers that I recognised her.

      It just goes to show that with the right encouragement anyone can look to succeed, but we have to get past judgment first. As Nicky’s story has shown, anyone with a disability can succeed, once the barriers have been broken down.

      The world must come to recognise ability without bringing their preconceived ideas into the equation about whether those people are disabled or not.

      Talent has nothing to do with being able bodied or being disabled. We’re people, we have talent, then we have disability. Disability doesn’t spell out incapable and yet people tend to think we are.

      Whatever you can do that you think will work to bring about awareness, I would say go for it!!

  5. Bonnie Strickland Johns 02. Mar, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    Thank you Ilana. Hearing of people like her and like you brings a lot of encouragement!

    • Ilana 02. Mar, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

      Thanks Bonnie. I’m pleased you feel encouraged.

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