FULL PARTICIPATION – Disability Awareness Month

Advocate, Community Participation, Disability, Employment, Parents, People with Disabilities Add comments

The designated month to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness is over today. The concept is a growing one and will continue to attract attention from employers, employees, parents, advocates and the community.

As Ed Moore stated, the community is vital to the acceptance of people with disabilities in the work place. In watching Billy at work for the past eight years, I have seen him and other employees with disabilities interact with the customers who frequent Food City. Since Billy’s disability is quite visible, people sometimes look at him with curiosity or even turn away. That has changed. Now you can hear “Hi, Billy!” as they enter the store, and frequently engage him in conversation. When he and I go to the mall and other places, we continue to hear such greetings addressed to him (I know fewer people than he does). This community acceptance is critical to the achievement of full participation.

Another vital component is the responsibility of parents and other advocates. If we want people with disabilities to be a part of the community, it is important that we help them acquire the skills necessary to do the job required. They have to be dependable, courteous, and willing to work hard. They also have to learn that all people will not treat them kindly; this happens to everyone. Several times customers have been rude to Billy. Sometimes he is deeply hurt and has been told by his supervisor to go outside for a while. I am convinced that as expectations and opportunities continue to develop, full participation will occur.

All of us are part of the process and the outcome.

One Response to “FULL PARTICIPATION – Disability Awareness Month”

  1. Tom Schulz Says:

    So, you are challenging each of us to step up to the plate: be responsible and be respectful. Why is that such a problem?

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