Between convenient LMS training and more disability-friendly jobs, it’s becoming easier for adults with disabilities to find work. Ergonomics, the science of designing technology according to human needs, has led to useful and exciting developments–not only for people with disabilities, but for everyone.
Of the 17 million disabled people who are of working age in the U.S., 12 million are unemployed. Most of these people–about 80%–report a desire to work. However, many obstacles stand in their way–including the disability itself, which can lead to a feeling of helplessness or depression. Too often, negative experiences of rejection in applying for jobs as well as other factors lead people with disabilities to focus on what they can’t do, rather than what they can.
If you are someone with a disability looking for a job, consider a few tips. First, don’t be discouraged. Remember that especially during times like these, all job-seekers are having a tough time of it.
Assess your abilities. What activities are you good at, and what are you able to do without interference from your disability? Create a list of job possibilities based on your own unique abilities.
When seeking a job, some employers will require an interview. Take advantage of these to gain valuable interview practice–even if you’re not very interested in the position.
Look for the “Positive about disabled people” icon on job ads to ensure that your work environment will be well-equipped and wheelchair accessible, and/or willing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled persons.
Contact government agencies that serve people with disabilities. There is a great deal of assistance available out there–both financial and practical. If you are in the U.S., contact a state employment office or an office of the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to assist you with your job hunt and placement.
Unfortunately, sometimes people with disabilities do not seek employment for fear of losing their financial assistance. To overcome this trap, try volunteering or working part-time. Gaining below a certain level of income will not affect your disability benefits. When you feel confident enough to take the next step, you can increase your hours, become full-time, and let go of your financial assistance.
Lastly, you may consider furthering your education or training. Although most disabled people have many abilities, many haven’t received formal training or education in a job skill. Therefore, employers are less likely to consider them as job candidates.
An increasing number of schools and vocational training courses offer LMS online and other special programs for people with disabilities. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, education and employment available for people with disabilities are multiplying. Furthermore, for many of these positions and training programs, disabilities are viewed in a new light–as advantages.
A recent MSNBC article by contributor Chris Tachibana touched on precisely this topic.
“A new movement helps hone unique traits of disorder into valuable skills,” says Tachibana. He writes about Ron Brix, a man with Asperger Syndrome (a form of autism) whose success as a computer system developer was linked directly to his disability. His job required intense attention to detail, single-minded focus, and a willingness to work on something until it was perfect.
Online job and vocational training programs are also convenient for people with disabilities. Using an LMS or LCMS to customize a company’s or institution’s training program, the possibilities are endless in catering to a wide range of needs and learning styles.
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