Advocacy and Confidence Employment for People with Disabilities

Advocacy and Confidence Employment for People with Disabilities

A person with a disability must consider the effects of employment on your physical and mental well-being. I resigned my position, as a claims representative with the Social Security Administration. It was because I did not fully consider these factors before accepting the job. In the morning,  I woke up at 4:30 to complete my daily routine. I was suffering from sleep deprivation by the middle of the day. One simple change could have made would be to move my routines in the evening hours.

An Additional Factor

One of the main problems that I had on the job was completing the claims in the time frame required by the Social Security Administration. I simply was not fast enough. As persons with disabilities, I feel we must show confidence to ensure that our supervisors know that we are capable of performing the work. One factor, that can prove confidence, was the fact that I have difficulty learning the training materials through the videos that were provided. Throughout my coursework in high school college and law school I took notes on the recording class. It would’ve been a simple matter to do so at Social Security, but I did not discover until late in my training process that the classes were saved.

I did make a reasonable accommodation request by asking for more time to read the training materials. My request was rejected. I did not appeal because I felt that the agency had provided adequate accommodations such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 and the Kurzweil Reader 1000. I was given the help of a competent assistant. In hindsight, I feel that she represented her own interest, not mine. She worked for the agency, not for me. You must also be an effective advocate for your own rights. I strongly advise that as a person with a disability to work closely with their employer to ensure the reasonable accommodations are being provided.

Higher Education

Great strides have been made in the education of persons with disabilities since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We have gone far beyond the days when persons with disabilities were kept in the closet and not educated. According to the Department of Labor, the American economy’s expanding rate of unemployment for people without disabilities is 3.8% in August of 2018, whereas people with disabilities have a rate of 8.5%.

One factor explaining this disparity could be found in the number of persons that have completed a bachelors degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014, there were 34.4% of workers without a disability who have completed their bachelor’s degree, the percentage of people that have completed a bachelors degree with a disability is 16.4 %. In my opinion, the lack of a bachelors degree cannot be the only reason to explain the disparity in the unemployment rates. An additional factor could be the degree of accommodations required by the Americans With Disabilities Act – it is simply less efficient to hire a personal assistant to help a person with a disability to complete their work.

Extra Services

It is a sad fact of life, that individuals with disabilities have greater difficulty obtaining employment. It is important to take advantage of your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services. My employment with the Social Security Administration was gained through the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. If you are having a hard time receiving reasonable accommodations, I would highly suggest you should contact your Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Disability employment

Discrimination

The person with a disability obtained a college degree and obtained the necessary certification to work. His or her inability to find a job may be based upon unspoken discrimination, proving discrimination can be difficult under current laws. Chris had an interview that he thought it was his best interview ever,  and he was turned down because there wasn’t a position in the first place. Companies and corporations do this to show they are open in hiring people with disabilities to the federal government. You can’t prove this at all. which is so frustrating.

Competence and Confidence

it is important to maintain a competent and confident attitude at all times, even in situations where your own insecurities have the potential to overwhelm you. A positive attitude goes a long way. protecting oneself positively will enable others to perceive you in a positive light. If you show a positive attitude at work, other employees will notice it. They also will think to themselves if this person can do it with a disability, they can do it too.

Effective Advocacy and Preservation of Rights

it is important to be your own advocate and preserve your rights. If you have a contract or an employee organization, you should be sure to follow all of the company’s guidelines. You must also make all your request for reasonable accommodations in writing. In the modern work environment or coworkers are protecting themselves. It is important to promote the -project and preserve yourself in the most efficient way possible.

Importance of Quality Advice

There is safety in a multitude of counselors and organization, Equip for Equality has a new hotline. They help people with disabilities understand the application process. The organization also helps employees understand confidentiality procedures. It is an improper employment inquiry for the employer to ask about your disability during the application process. It is my recommendation that you disclose your disability. Any needed accommodation when you find you are on the verge of being hired by an employer. They also help employees with disabilities to request reasonable accommodations. It also helps employers connect with people with disability. They can answer questions for the employers with regard to their legal rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act. It is most important that persons with disabilities project confidence and advocate effectively for their own rights.

Participation and Inclusion for Disabilities in Society

Participation and Inclusion for Disabilities in Society

Participation and inclusion really affect a student’s life with a disability. I have a story about my high school years. On my first day of high school, I was exceedingly nervous. There was a sense of fear that I would never be accepted. In elementary school, I became accustomed to people staring at me because I was in a wheelchair. I used to tell them to take a picture because it lasted longer. Sometimes the simplest things can serve as social icebreakers. I had a New York Yankees sticker on the side of my wheelchair this created a great rivalry among the Philadelphia Phillies fans at school.

Acquaintances developed simply because people were curious about my motorized chair. The awkwardness disappeared. Eventually, the students accepted me. My academic integration into the school was successful. I did not participate in afterschool or social activities because it was too difficult for my parents to get me later. If I could have joined a club, that would increase participation and inclusion among the students.

participation and inclusion workplace

One of my biggest desires in high school was to have a job and earn some money. My father advised me to focus on my studies. He told me that economic success would eventually come. Sadly, it did not arrive. If I had money and transportation social participation would be easier. These elements from my own life story illustrate the problems for individuals with disabilities, who are attempting to fully participate in society and get the most out of life. I was able to fully participate in the academic life of the school because the educational process was very inclusive.

A Change of Heart Required

Society must change its perspective with regard to any oppressed minority if it intends to achieve full participation and inclusion. It doesn’t matter whether the prior discrimination was based on disability race age or sex. A change of heart is needed to make society more inclusive and allow individuals with disabilities to fully participate. If there is no change of heart, people with a disability always will be isolated and kept on the side.

Adults Are Inhibited – Children Are Honest

I used to enjoy traveling around my neighborhood in Pennsylvania. Adults were always inhibited in the sense that they were reluctant to ask questions concerning my disability. Children had no difficulty asking questions because they have not yet been schooled in society’s norms. I was always willing to answer the questions of small children because I believe that their questions were based on a sincere desire to know why I was in a wheelchair.

My problem was that I would always make my explanation too complicated, so the children didn’t quite understand what I was saying. The mainstreaming has increased due to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It has increased the participation of students with disabilities in education. It is my belief that increased participation and inclusion has increased the opportunities for students with disabilities to become active participants in school. In my experience, children have honest hearts and would not think twice about the participation and inclusion of the person with a disability.

participation and inclusion

My Friend’s Approach

My friend, David Singer, had a much better approach – he would simply tell the children that he had broken both of his legs and was unable to walk. As opposed to going into a complicated explanation of what cerebral palsy is. His approach seemed to work better and satisfy the children’s curiosity. In the end,! understanding will lead to full inclusion and participation.

Better Understanding

Society, in general, needs a better understanding of the needs of persons with disabilities. It is incumbent upon persons with disabilities to fully explain their needs. Persons with disabilities must become their own advocates. Integration would occur automatically almost as a matter of course if there were a change of heart and full understanding. Society’s failure to integrate persons with disabilities in the past was based upon a lack of understanding. It is our goal to increase the participation and inclusion of individuals with disability into all facets of society.

One reason for my lack of economic success, as an attorney, was the lack of social and economic contacts. As persons with disabilities, when they become more integrated into society, they will develop contacts. As social media grows, it will help people with disabilities to reach out and have more involvement with others.

Progress is Being Made

Society has been making progress toward full integration and participation of individuals with disabilities act, over the last 30 years with the passage of the Americans With Disabilities. Under this act, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified individuals with a disability. I believe that one of the reasons I did not gain employment in the legal profession is the amount of physical assistance I needed. It simply did not pay for the employer to hire two persons in order to accomplish one job. It is my hope that improvements in technology will alleviate the need for persons with disabilities to have assistance on the job.

Adequate Cost-effective and Timely Transportation

The lack of transportation is one of the biggest barriers for individuals with disabilities. Persons with disabilities need cost-effective and timely transportation in order to attend work, school, or doctors appointments. I live in a rural area of southern New Jersey with very limited access to public transportation. Sadly I am very dependent upon my mother and sisters to get me from place to place. It would be fantastic to live in a city like Chicago with accessible taxis.

 Greater Understanding

Greater understanding of networking and transportation will achieve full participation in the integration of individuals with disabilities. It is important to participate in the political process and lobby for the things that we need such as attendant care and affordable transportation. I strongly urge that individuals with disabilities be their own advocate. Clearly articulate your needs and act with relentless determination to achieve your goals.

How Mainstreaming Helps a Student’s Life for the Better

How Mainstreaming Helps a Student’s Life for the Better

Mainstreaming is where students with disabilities are placed in the regular classroom. It allows the student to be accepted by their peers and have the education that all students should have. When I started the first grade in 1971, I was with students who had a disability, and the teacher had experience helping the students with their daily needs. In today’s school setting, students are placed in the regular classrooms at the local school.

Low Reading and Math Levels

Due to the low reading scores and math levels, I was placed in special education classes. I needed a lot of one-on-one or more attention from a special education teacher. At that time, I believe there was an unspoken presumption that children with disabilities could not function in a regular classroom.

Presumption Overcome and Refuted

mainstreaming disabled studentsMainstreaming is a process by which disabled students are placed in regular classes alongside their nondisabled peers. The student with a disability is required to perform at the same academic level as the other students in his or her classes. This is the state from a process of inclusion, in which the student with a disability is not required to function at the same level as their nondisabled peers, even though the terms are frequently used interchangeably.

Mainstreaming was a new and gradual process when I was mainstreamed in 1976 – I was grateful for the fact that my classroom teachers gradually introduce me into regular classes. Over time I proved my ability to function. I am not certain that I could’ve handled a complete class schedule at the age of 11 or 12, but I was able to prove my ability to function over time.

Succeeding

I remember feeling the fear that I would not be able to succeed, this fear gave me a relentless desire to succeed, I would do everything possible to succeed academically, even if it meant endless hours of study and toil. With hard work, I did succeed.

Advantages of Mainstreaming for Children with Disabilities

My life experience illustrates one of the main benefits of mainstreaming, it is that a child with a disability can grow and improve his or her ability to learn when being challenged. The first class, in which I was mainstreamed was music it was an elective in my middle school and I do not consider to have been academically challenging, the next year I was placed in a science class along with the social studies class. I attended regular classes in high school in 1979.

An Opportunity Meeting Girls

Socially the experience was fantastic, I was blessed to have nice young ladies push me to my next class. Mainstreaming gave me an opportunity to learn social skills. Interacting in school helps the student to ask for help which allows the individual to be more independent.

Advantages for Non-disabled Children

Students without a disability receive the benefit of meeting children with disabilities, as a result of meeting children with disabilities – other students may develop compassion and empathy. It is also possible that under some classroom models the nondisabled students may be able to tutor the students with disabilities in areas where they are stronger.

Disadvantages of Mainstreaming

Teachers in regular classes do not have the skill and training of a special education teacher. Lack of experience with disabled children may create unrealistic expectations for the student. The expectations of teachers must be set at the right level for each student in order to be appropriate. Throughout my education, my teachers had a full understanding of what I could achieve. Can the expectations be set too low the student may not grow academically?

If the expectations are set too high the student will not exceed and achieve, classroom teachers may not understand the needs of the student with a disability. The student with the disability may not receive the physical care that they need, it should be noted that in today’s school environment this is an unlikely scenario, schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education to students with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Under this act, no entity receiving federal funds may discriminate on the basis of disability. This means the needs of the student with a disability must be met to the same extent as the needs of children without disabilities. In Section 504, they define what a disability is so a student must be evaluated to determine if they have a disability or not.

students with teacher - mainstreaming

Disadvantages for Students Without Disabilities

Students without disabilities may be deprived of needed teacher time because disabled students require more attention. Students without disabilities may become resentful because disabled peers received more attention.

Advantages and Disadvantages to Schools

The school districts receive funding from the state’s Department of Education for every disabled student under their care so having more students with disabilities get more money.

The state and federal education budgets are being reduced teachers and schools are required to do more with less funding.

The effect of mainstreaming overall is positive, both from the perspective of the student with a disability and their nondisabled peers. It’s important to note that a mainstream environment is not best for every student, parents and teachers must make the decision that works best in light of the needs of the individual student. My parents made the choice to allow me to be mainstreamed in the public school. If my father had been given the choice he would’ve allowed my younger sister with a hearing impairment to attend the Philadelphia school for the deaf. Each child has different skills needs and abilities. Ideally, each student should study in the environment that is best for this. I strongly urge the parents reading this post to evaluate all services available to determine what is best for their child.

Families with Children with Disabilities and Divorce Rate?

Families with Children with Disabilities and Divorce Rate?

I grew up in a family with 3 children my oldest sister is not disabled and my youngest sister’s hearing-impaired. I have cerebral palsy. My mom and dad had a very loving relationship. Having a child or children with the disability can increase the pressure upon a married couple. But, It can also bring the couple together, therefore they can work on a common task for the benefit of the child with a disability.

My parents took great pains to ensure that my sisters were not neglected because of the amount of care that I needed. I’m afraid that the one thing that suffered was the relationship with each other. My mom indicated that there was no chance to get to know each other because of the time-consuming nature of meeting the needs of children with disabilities. We can do that It can be useful for a married couple to include the concept of a weekly or monthly date night.

The Divorce Rate

Broken hearts: The divorce capital of every state – USA Today study show that an increase in the number of children generally increases divorce. Surprisingly having a large number of children and a child with a disability does not increase the divorce rate. Based on the study I would argue that having a disabled child in the family binds us together.

Parents of Children with Disabilities and Relationship

The husband and wife must work together on common goals for the children while preserving their own relationship. If they just focus on the kids, the relationship might fall apart, which is not healthy. There must be a balance between” the parents and the children.

Siblings Required to Give of Themselves

My sisters were sometimes required to help with my care everything from giving showers to feeding and even toileting. These are things that no ordinary child or young adult would be forced to do. I am very grateful for the help love and support of my sisters. They both made me feel normal. Their friends became my friends. Often I would do things with my sister’s friends and my sister would get in trouble. Siblings are required to give of themselves and take care of their brother or sister who has a disability.

Young Kids and Disability

I have three nephews and a niece. They treat my disability as though it doesn’t exist at all when they were small I spent time with them on the computer helping them play games and operate the PC on their own. I really enjoyed this interaction because when we played together they treated me like I was their age.

2013 Study

There was a study in 2013 that was done at the University of Wisconsin – Madison at the School of Social Work. They studied the divorce rate in 190 parents with children with developmental disabilities compared to 7,251 parents with children without a disability. They indicated that siblings of children with disabilities have more emotional problems.

Potential Effects on Siblings of Children with Disability

It’s not that the parents are unconcerned about their children they are simply exhausted. Attention energy and resources are taken away from the other children according to the study.

The siblings may have problems with interpersonal relationships. Brothers and sisters of children with disabilities may have psychological problems or difficulty getting involved in sports. In these households with children that have disabilities, there is financial and psychological stress.

According to the authors of the study, parents must cut back on work hours and must spend time with the child with a disability to doctors and other appointments. This might affect the family’s finance.

Siblings Problems Corrected Through Early Intervention

In families, without children with a disability,” the author of the study’s claim problems of siblings are more easily addressed. Intervention and counseling are more available. The study indicates that if the sibling has another healthy child to interact with they will develop in a more healthy fashion.

Do siblings of children with disabilities have problems with interpersonal relationships psychological problems or social activities? Having another sibling to interact with can allow a child to develop more self-confidence. Interaction with siblings can make a child more successful. The study indicated that siblings of children with disabilities are less likely to be healthy mentally. The siblings seem more likely to be unhappy nervous or afraid. They were more likely to have problems at school. The siblings of children with disabilities were more likely to have problems with leisure activities or in sports. The study advised parents to look at their able-bodied child problems and determine whether they were the result of the parent having to spend too much time with the child with a disability.

Problems with the study

One of the problems with the study is that it reflected only a snapshot in time. The authors of the study would’ve found it more valuable to examine parents when they were under more stress and see if the siblings had more difficulty. The study indicated that many problems of siblings do not get noticed because they do not act up they bear the problems on their own shoulders.

There are several aspects of the study that ring true. Such is the fact that parents are tired. Siblings of children with disabilities may not get as much time with the parent. I do disagree with the study’s conclusions because I have seen my own parents ensure that they spend enough time with each child. Of course, there are financial pressures with having a child with a disability but I would say it is no different from the situation in a large family where resources have to be divided.

The study indicated that there was value in interacting with another able-bodied sibling. I would point out that there is also value in interacting with the sibling that has a disability. I would argue that my oldest sister is a very selfless and giving person. She was a great asset to my mother and father as they shoulder the responsibilities of two children with disabilities. It is my belief that with ease of  access to financial services such as Gad Capital, having disabled children in the family can enrich a family and greatly enhance its interactions.

Accessible Vans – Self-driving Vans Will Increase Independent

Accessible Vans – Self-driving Vans Will Increase Independent

Self-driving vans can foster independence and mobility among persons with disabilities. I will show how far we come to increase independence during my lifetime and what will happen in the near future.

When I was in high school I used a motorized chair. It could not be transported in my father’s car. If it could’ve been transported I would’ve been better able to socialize and introduce myself to people. Some interesting problems occurred because of the inability to transport my chair. I graduated from high school in June 1983. My motorized wheelchair had to be left at school until I came back for graduation. Once at school my father had to transfer me to the motorized chair using a standard cradle bodily left. He did this because it was my desire to go up and get my diploma by myself. It is clear now that my parents went far above and beyond the call of duty to ensure my independence and happiness.

A Power Wheelchair Without a Van

I received my motorized chair in September of 1979. I can honestly tell you that I felt like the king of the world. Finally, I moved on my own. It opened up a whole new world. Prior to this time I was confined to a manual wheelchair and needed by family and friends. It can be hard to meet new people when you must always have a caregiver at your side. Having a motorized chair enabled me to meet people. They would always ask me questions as to how fast the chair could go and how far I could drive. When I first got the chair, I was unable to control it and ran over seven people during my first two days of high school. Suffice it to say that people were happier with me when I learned to control the chair.

My father purchased a full-sized van with the lift in 1980. It had a rear lift door. Having a rear lift door was advantageous because we only needed one parking spot rather than the 2 required by a side entry van. The full-sized van has another advantage I was able to transport large groups of friends to a ballgame or concert. The full-sized van enhanced my ability to socialize with friends. At that time, it was a blessing, but I now think self-driving vans will help people with disabilities a lot.

Drawbacks to Having The Full-sized Van

Having a full-sized van can be difficult to drive and park. For this reason, my mom decided to purchase a minivan with the Braun conversion. My mom purchased a 2012 Toyota Sienna. The vehicle has many great features such as the fact the door opens and the lift drops with the touch of a button. The passenger seat is removed from my van. It is equipped with an easy lock system to secure my chair. There is a peg on the bottom of my motorized chair which allows me to drive into the lock and be safe during travel.

The easy lock system is an improvement over the ratchets and straps that were used to secure the chair in my full-sized van. Often times my drivers would not loosen the straps properly once we stopped. On the return trip, they were getting loosely and were useless for actually securing the chair. I purchased a new motorized chair in 2017. I had to buy a new easy lock for the chair. The easy lock system is a bit expensive it can cost as much as $1300 to put a new peg on a motorized chair.  I was blessed by the fact that the New Jersey Department of vocational rehabilitation paid for the installation of the new peg.

accessilble van self-driving vans

Converted Vehicles Are Expensive

A minivan with the Braun conversion can cost as much as $45,000 and it is not a self-driving van. I was blessed with the fact that my uncle purchased the minivan for me. I would not have been able to afford it without his generosity. The New Jersey Department of vocational rehabilitation provides funds to convert vans on behalf of persons with disabilities, who are seeking employment. The conversion itself cost about $18,500. The New Jersey Department of vocational rehabilitation will provide funds for conversions every 5 years. I strongly urge the readers of this post to check with their state’s department of vocational rehabilitation to obtain funds for conversions. If you cannot afford to purchase an adaptive vehicle they can be rented for $99 a day. You would be able to use an adaptive vehicle to go on a day trip with family and friends.

How Self-driving Vans Work

Self-driving vans use sensors to detect the cars around them. They are capable of staying in their lanes and following curves in the road. They can even break by themselves when they detect a vehicle in front of them. One problem is that drivers must be connected to the steering or brake systems in order for the technology to work. Human interaction still needed.

Autonomous Driving Still Needs to be Improved

There have been accidents involving autonomous driving technology. On one occasion a Tesla vehicle hit a fire truck moving at 5 miles an hour. On another occasion, a General Motors vehicle struck a motorcycle when it was changing lanes. I long for the day when I will be able to punch in the destination to my computer and have my van drive me there. Autonomous are self-driving technology has the potential to enhance the independence of persons with disabilities.