Friday, May 18, 2012

The annoying facts of having a disability.

After 50 years of struggling physically, mentally and vocationally with the inconvenience of being born with Cerebral Palsy, I've come to this conclusion: My condition physically has only limited my options as far as a vocation however, it is not limited my determination to break social barriers placed upon those individuals afflicted with disabilities or for a more appropriate word "challenges". Unfortunately, our society is built upon "only the fit need apply". In our advertising we see hundreds of ads promoting beauty, athleticism, power and control and an attitude of the masses. "The man with the most toys wins!" Is this what we really want our society to embrace?
It depends on what side of the fence you're on. I have witnessed through my life,insensitivity  and on the other extreme, deep-seated understanding and compassion by those individuals who have held me in their arms as I sat crying ; because I did not understand the social etiquette one learns the proper role modeling at a very young age, having been adopted later in life, these social tools I finally learned. I laugh many times when I read about a new breakthrough in the field of disabilities or new laws, such as the new amendments to the ADA program. Most of the laws written within the ADA concerning employment has little enforcement ability . This can be seen just in human nature and the ideology that our country and society adopt "being the best". How can an employer. Not be discriminatory; if it costs him: money, time and most of all thinking and accommodating a disabled or challenged employee when he can hire a more able-bodied or "more perfect" individual who he doesn't have to worry about in any way, shape or form , bottom line; it is cost-effective and that is what our society has been raised to believe and act on. Even when our laws on
employment discrimination.state:  A company may not discriminate on the basis. Of: Race,Creed, Ethnicity, Sex, Religion, Sexual Orientation or Disability.We have all seen the acronym : EOE on the job applications we fill out or when  applying for. Most anything in this day and age basically protecting The company or agency from any  any legal action. As long as you were given the opportunity to apply,the company has  fulfilled its legal obligation to the ADA mandate. I am not saying , that all employers don't hire disabled or challenged , there are many who see the benefit of being , compassionate and human . What I would like to see in our society is more understanding by employers and agencies in thinking "outside the box". I Had a employer once who had hired me as a dishwasher, I worked four days doing my best I remember hearing about how he fired people so easily. I thought for sure wouldn't last 1day ! at the end of the fourth day of my shift . He kept coming in and out of the dish room looking at me and then walking out. I finally asked him straight out I know you want to talk to me and I appreciate that you gave me a shot!
He knew, that I knew what he had to do... I never saw someone  who had a reputation. of being such a callous employer agonize over firing me... I even saw this big man.... Wipe away a tear... I had no job and shortly, no place to live...This gentleman. within the next three days ; created a job especially for me. I worked for him 2 years until he hired a "Biker" manager who fired key people to get his own friends jobs.This story is true and an exception to the rule.
 Good employees whether they be able-bodied or challenged need to be given a chance , everyone has a hidden challenge or a deficit and may not fit into exact job specifications but nonetheless should be given a chance to show an employer his or her her strengths.I firmly believe if any individual were placed into a situation  where they had to relearn or how accommodations due to to newly acquired challenge they would quickly learn  and become more sensitive to the frustrations of many "challenged" people trying to compete in a job market that doesn't promote sustainable, gainful employment for people with developmental and/or congenital disabilities. as I say:" Music is my dream :  Cerebral Palsy is just an inconvenience".