Article Written in The Mighty

Children with disabilities have dreams at a young age like any other child does. Some want to be teachers, others want to be doctors and others want to be firemen. When they are ready to enter the workforce, they might get disappointed if there are employers who don’t want to hire them because they have disabilities. I want to discuss four myths I believe exist about people with disabilities in the work force.

1. “People with disabilities call in sick often.”

Some people might think those with disabilities get sick often due to their disability. This is usually not true for many people. First of all, if a person with a disability is sick often, they might not be trying to find a job at that time. If they apply for a job and come in for an interview, they are motivated to work.

Chris Lenart

2. “The work is too much for the person, so we can’t hire them.”

How can the people who are hiring know what the people with disabilities can or can’t do? You can’t know what someone can or can’t do without knowing the individual. Sometimes I would have to ask my manager for more work because I was getting bored at work. At the company I worked at, we had diversity groups we could set up. So I set up a diversity group for employees with disabilities or employees who had a family member with a disability. The work for this group was on top of our regular work. We had about four people with a disability in the group.

3. “The person with a disability might require some modifications to the work place and the company can’t pay for it.”

If the person with a disability needs a few modifications, how hard is that? For me, I just needed several things modified. First, I needed the desk to be raised. It is easy because the cubicle is adjustable so they could put the desk at any height that I wanted. This was one-time modification if they didn’t move me. The second modification was a touch monitor. Now it is really easy to get. I have gone without a touch monitor for years so I could go without it for a while. The last thing is a key guard for the keyboard. It allows me from pressing multiple keys at one time. Some people with disabilities need wider stalls in the bathroom or an extra grab bar in the stall. If the company is following the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), the bathrooms already should have a stall for people with disabilities.

4. “We have such a fast pace here that we don’t think the person could keep up with us.”

Well, how do you know that the person with a disability can’t keep up? Did you ask the person or did you decide this on your own? For me, the first few years were really easy for everybody. Then there were some hard deadlines. Everybody had to work faster and smarter. It included me. I could have just continued the normal pace or took it as a challenge to keep my promise to the company that I would make sure my work was done on time and working to how the users wanted it. The company has to ask themselves if somebody new could keep up whether or not if the person has a disability.

There are many more myths to talk about, and you can come up more yourself. All I am trying to say is that people with disabilities are not hopeless. They are human beings with a desire to work like any other person, and companies just need to give them a chance to work. Maybe you’ll hire somebody remarkable and he or she might do something great for your company.

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