On the job: what does that mean for people with disabilities

Hello everyone,

Okay, so I realize it’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog with the latest disability news. Looking at my previous posts, it’s been over three months since I posted regularly. Wow, that’s a long time. I am just now starting to catch up on things in my life. A lot has changed for me during this time. As my regular readers have learned, I have been actively seeking a job for a while now. Thanks to my dad and his contacts at the local university, I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting a job. By that I mean I actually have an interview! A real interview… it is set for July 13, soon after my family and I return from our usual Fourth of July vacation in Washington, DC. I am scheduled to meet with someone who deals with their hiring of general staff. There are no exact details on a position, but dad has given her a list of my abilities so she can have a chance to determine exactly where I may fit in at the University. Personally, my dad and I are both hoping that the position involves utilizing my skills as both a writer and researcher in order to help their professors. I have always had an interest in advocating for people with disabilities, so anything in the paralegal field would be great.

At this point, anything would be appreciated. I just need to get some experience under my belt of being out there in the real world. I still have a lot to learn; I look forward to experiencing both the joys and trials of having a job because I realize that it’s just another part of life. In this respect, I realize I am not alone in my struggle to find a job. There are many people with different disabilities who are in a similar position. Take for example this October 2006 editorial by Ann Bauer entitled, “Willing, Able — and Unemployable”. In it, she tells this story of her 18-year-old autistic son struggling to find the perfect job. Despite his sensitive spirit and being “eerily responsible”, his interview attempts remained unsuccessful. He encountered many barriers in the process of getting a job, such as a psychological test, which eliminates “people on the edge of the bell curve” at Target. She goes on to say that over the next decade 4 million people will be diagnosed with autism.

What does this mean for us as a society? Bauer answers this question by exploring the many options to her. She could sue, but for what? Bauer says , ” Legal action wouldn’t get Andrew, now nearly 19, working. What it would do is force him to defend himself and his abilities in court — this young man who’s still reluctant to speak at school.” Wow, that gives people a lot to think about. In my opinion, the foundation of the issue still remains the same. Acceptance and understanding of a disability is vital to eliminating stereotype and bridging the gap between people. That being said, I would like to highlight some important steps public relations have taken as part of this process. For example, there is the Autism Speaks campaign. Check out the amazing “Autism Every Day” ads. They can be accessed at: http://www.autismspeaks.org/

For additional information on Autism , feel free to visit Autism Society of America at http://www.autism-society.org/site/PageServer


Bauer , Ann. “Willing, Able– and Unemployable .” Washington Post.com 30 October 1998 . 28 June 2007http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/29/AR2006102900544.html

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