In the lives of different people, challenges often arise due to different aspects in life. Some find difficulties in getting works or are living in poverty. Some people are having emotional problems while others have difficulties with their families. All these challenges are only normal for people. However, there are individuals that their lives are forever tainted by their physical capabilities.
Disabled is a word which is utilized by many people to call people who have physical disabilities. Most of the disabled individuals have difficulties in walking, talking, listening, understanding and seeing. Thus, these kinds of disabilities hinder these individuals to have a normal life in which they could have work and a lifestyle of normal people. However, there are organizations which create different advocacies that help these communities in making their lives normal.
I had been working in an organization named Wicklow Supported Employment Network (WSEN) which is a network that is helping individuals with different disabilities to attain their desired jobs and provide for their own family’s needs. In the organization, I am tasked to do different duties, such as complete a research project with regards to Leonardo Da Vinci Programme, have a shadow coach work, visit different factory supervising clients with support needs, informing different clients of their rights and entitlements such as social welfare grants services available, promotion of service, participating in meetings with clients and potential employees and evaluation of the current system of client profiling. With all the tasks that I had been given to me, I am very exposed with all the needs and services which are needed to be provided for the people. With out the assistance of WSEN, there will be less awareness of the disabled people of what should or should not be provided and benefited by the individuals.
The organization of WSEN has the mission statement “To help stem the flow of people with disabilities and extra support needs into long-term employed by facilitating integration into suitable and fulfilling mainstream employment”( “Employment Action Plan,” 2002). Thus, the organization is aiming to provide all jobs for people who have disabilities which hinders them to find normal work. Therefore, the action of the WSEN promotes equality for disabled people that do not have much opportunities provided to them. With the initiatives done by the group disabled people are given the equal amount of option to be productive and not lead to a depressing state of self pity or despair.
With the span of time I have spent for with the organization, I have truly learned different things not only relating to the education I have learned but reflection in the experience that I have. Most of the time, I am exposed to asking clients if they are able to provide our organization the work which we could relay to the disabled individuals. In communicating with companies, sometimes having disabled workers immediately creates a negative impression for them (Organization for Economic Coo-Operation and Development, 2004). Most of the time, these companies are not open to disabled workers for they also worry regarding the needs of disabled people. In addition to this, most companies are worried of the percentage of productivity that disabled individuals could provide them. However, through well communication and assurance that disabilities are not a hindrance some of the companies are able to accept the idea that disabled people are also capable of the things normal people could do.
Accordingly, I have realized that there are people that really have many stereotypes with regards to disabled people. Most of the time, disabled people are known to not have the capability to have a high rate of productivity or simply attain an equal of quality work as to the normal people. However, if these companies are given the correct impression with disabled people and had proven that they are not a threat to the company is it only the time companies do agree to hire people with disabilities.
In the current era that we are living in, individuals do think that not all individuals have obviously understood the worth of disabled people. Similar to my earlier statements, people are still behind a large wall that limits their own perspective of disabled people. Therefore, such type of education must not only be provided to social workers or advocates but to other people who have stereotypes against disabled individuals. The media as a strong entity that influence the society must be able to open up the topic of disabled people equally with the environmental advocacies. It is only through the influence of the media that disabled people would be wholly seen as people that have equal capabilities than before. (NDA, 2001)
In another view, the society is much harsher to the people who are seen in the medical model of disability. Most people who are within this community are stereotyped as useless most especially those that have cerebral palsy while individuals with AIDS are not given equal treatment for they are seen as dirty individuals that could contaminate other people by simply talking or being with people who have the sickness. (Gilmore and Kearnes, 2006)
In the case of social model disability, it is known that these set of people who are disables are limited and stereotyped by the buses and structures available. There are buses, buildings, and establishments that do not have room for disabled people which then limits their rights to enjoy different activities which is due to them because of human rights. Therefore, there is discrimination of disabled people in Ireland for they are not given the proper respect by the government which is very evident for their needs are not wholly addressed unlike the normal non-disabled individual.
In may view point, disabled individuals all have the capabilities of a normal person to work normally in different fields such as factories and offices. Although there could be great difficulties in providing adequate technological materials to help disabled people to work properly such as brails, wheelchairs and the likes, disabled people are also individuals that are inspired to work. In fact, they could play as an inspiration for the people who are normal that disabilities are not a hindrance for a person to succeed in life. It is only through a perseverance and hard work.
In conclusion, disabled individuals are also similar to normal people. It is only physical attributes and the physical conditions that construct them differently but it is the passion and perseverance that makes them the same. Through the advocacy groups such as WSEN, people and companies are aware that disabled people are capable of doing different activities that would help prosper their businesses. On the other hand, disabled individuals are able to know that there are companies that would want to hire them. Moreover, both of the parties involved are benefiting one another in development.
As a worker and a student of the advocacy for disabled individuals I have realized that there is a great need for disabled people to be empowered. Given that for most of the centuries, disabled people are not often given the chance to redeem themselves unlike the African Americans, the gay and lesbian communities and the likes. It is timely, that the disabled community will show their counter parts that there is nothing impossible that they could do. Rather, it is to believing that they could do anything they would want regardless of the disability they have.
As people, we must also consider that disabled people are individuals that also have human rights, values, priorities and feelings which then make them similar to the normal people. Therefore, they must not be disregarded but respected (Charlton, 2008) parallel to others.
Gilmore, M. and & Kearns, P. (2006). Disabilities Studies. Institute of Technology Sligo. pp. 1-146.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Transforming disability into ability. Massachusetts: OECD Publishing.
Duke, K. (2005). Advocacy Placement Manual. Ireland: Institute of Technology, Sligo.
Charleton, M. (2008). Ethics for Social Care Advocacy. Ireland: Institute of Technology, Sligo.
“Employment Action Plan.” (2002). Retrieved May 6, 2009 from http://wallis.kezenfogva.iif.hu/eu_konyvtar/projektek/vocational_rehabilitiation/ireland/ire_rap/obj_5.htm.
Nationa Disability Authority. (2001). National Disability Authority Annual Report 2001. Retrieved on May 6, 2009 from http://www.nda.ie/cntmgmtnew.nsf/0/C37CAADA0CA7F9A980256EB4004C43CB/$File/ndaannualreport2001.pdf.