A large possible workforce remains largely untapped. This is how you need to approach it.

Even when work is an agonising slog, having a job – any job – is a blessing. Aside from the remunerative benefits that ensue, employment boosts self-esteem, expands social networks and enhances well-being. Those benefits are especially pronounced for people with an intellectual disability.

That’s when work becomes not just about deriving a pay cheque but about deriving meaning and purpose. Likewise, work is not just about teamwork but about social integration and it’s not just about working independently but about attaining actual independence.

Unfortunately, the prospect for meaningful employment is somewhat gloomy. The rate of unemployment for those with a mild or moderate intellectual disability is 34.9 per cent. For those with a mild or moderate physical disability it’s 8.1 per cent. For the general population it’s 5.7. …

… remembering the words of the late Stella Young: “I want to live in a world where we don’t have such low expectations of disabled people that we are congratulated for getting out of bed and remembering our own names in the morning. I want to live in a world where we value genuine achievement for disabled people.”

Read more…

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This article was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald. You can read the full article here.

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