Dispelling the Myths about People with Disabilities
The major barriers to achievement of people with disabilities in our society continue to be attitudinal barriers, stereotypical thinking, and assumptions about what people can and cannot do. The truth is that the rang of ability of persons within any disability group is enormous. We need to get rid of our stereotypical images and view each individuals as just that: "an individual". Listed below are the kinds of assumptions that can be barriers to employment for persons with disabilities.
ASSUMPTION: An individual with a psychiatric disability cannot work in a stressful environment where tight timelines have to be met.
FACT: All individuals perceive stress differently and their responses vary. Some individuals with psychiatric disabilities perform effectively in jobs that require specific timelines and structure.
ASSUMPTION: A person who is bling and has a missing right hand cannot perform a job as a machinist.
FACT: The applicant lost his vision and right hand in Vietnam. He persuaded a community college to train him as a machinist and was finally given a job on a trial basis. From the very first day, he broke production records and caused others to do the same. His only modification was to move a level from the right side of the machine to the left.
ASSUMPTION: A person with mental retardation cannot be trained to perform a job as well as an employee without a disability.
FACT: Over two-thirds of the 4,000 participants in Pizza Hut, Inc.'s "Jobs Plus Program" are persons with mental retardation. The current turnover rate among these employees with disabilities is a modest 20% compared to the 150% turnover rate of employees without disabilities. This means a drop in recruitment and training costs.
ASSUMPTION: A person with developmental disabilities and difficulty with fine motor control is unlikely to be able to handle complex operations on the production line of a manufacturing plant.
FACT: A person with this combination of functional limitations was hire for a production line job. The job involved labeling, filing, capping, and packing a liquid product. The only accommodation supplied for the worker was the creation of a plywood jig. The jig enabled the worker to hold the bottle steady for correct labeling.