8 Things You Thought You Knew About People with Disabilities
When it comes to wrapping your head around things with which you’re not familiar first-hand, it can be easy to make assumptions. But there are plenty of things you might think you know about people with disabilities and their employment that are blatantly false.
Read on for a look into some of the most commonly held misconceptions that ring false.
Physical disabilities aren’t all that common
If you assumed that people with physical disabilities as a minority group are relatively small, it’s actually a more common occurrence than you’d think. By many accounts, it’s considered the largest minority group in the United States, with 74.6 million people.
People with disabilities have a “modified” college experience
Many assume that a person with a disability who has a college degree received some form of “modified” college experience. The truth is, generally speaking, basic reasonable accommodations apply on campuses, and students with disabilities are expected to complete the same curriculum as any other student.
People with disabilities are well-represented in many fields
Perhaps we’d like to assume that industries have caught up and people with disabilities are well-represented across many workplace types, people with disabilities are actually heavily represented in some of the most rapidly declining positions, such as the postal service, clerking and data entry, and under-represented in the fastest-growing ones.
People with disabilities need to be treated with “kid gloves”
Many employers and coworkers might assume a person with a disability in the workplace needs special attention or a certain way of talking or giving instruction. They’d be wrong. The truth is, many people with disabilities appreciate being able to do their everyday work without attention being called to them. They’re there for the same reasons you are – to earn a living and have a career.
People with developmental disabilities are unemployable
Depending on the degree of disability, individuals with developmental disabilities have just as much ability to learn vocational skills and trades as any other potential hire. While 70 percent of the developmentally disabled population is unemployed, it’s primarily a result of misconceptions rather than potential job performance.
People with disabilities are accident-prone in the workplace
If you thought that people with disabilities were more at risk of accidents on the job, you’d be wrong. Studies have found no link between disability and workplace injury or blunders. The statistic matches almost exactly with people without disabilities.
People with disabilities are only suited for very specific types of jobs
Think of this one like you would with anyone. Sure, there are positions that anybody would be better suited for than others, but it’s no different with people with disabilities. There are always multiple ways to accomplish a task or a job – you just might not have thought of it yet.
People with disabilities are unreliable or erratic employees
Several studies have shown that people with disabilities have equal attendance rate in workplaces – and in some cases, better – than other workers. And as far as job performance goes, the same statistics apply – people with disabilities are just as high-performing, and in many cases higher.
Sources: Office of Disability and Employment Policy, DoSomething.org, Center for Opportunity, Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities