I was lucky enough to have a vast amount of exposure to people with disabilities when I was a child. However, the idea that wasn’t common, when I was growing up, was for the pursuit of employment for people with disabilities. It seemed that it was their goal in life was to support themselves with Supplemental Security Income.
Until I began working at PILR and becoming more involved with training and consumers, I didn’t realize what the problem was. There were a couple of short periods in my life where I had to take a break from work for various reasons, I’m not sure that I could have made it more than short amount of time that I had. I would get “cabin fever” within the first couple of weeks. Aside from not going stir crazy, having a job gives so much to employees. It generally will provide more income than SSI or SSDI, you will meet new people and gain new friends, and it gives your life an additional purpose: helping people, creating something, being part of a community or team.
Living in blissful ignorance might feel nice, but it is so much better to open your eyes, your heart, and become a part of the solution. I know many people who are considered “disabled” but that is not at all how I see them. Some of them have abilities beyond my comprehension; they just have something that makes them a little different. Different, for some reason, is seen as bad. Different is wonderful! How boring would like be if everyone was exactly the same? Everyone is different: hair color, skin color, eye color, height, weight, personality, ability, preferences, and the list goes on forever.
Something, that I found interesting when researching for one of my blogs was the full definition of disability includes people that are perceived to have a disability, even if doesn’t affect their life or work. That blew my mind, how society perceives you can be disabling, in more ways than one. We as a society need to work together to help raise the bar for people with disabilities, to encourage them to dream big and believe in themselves.
What are things that you dream about?