Archives Point of View

What to do when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Impacts Case Settlements:
The Benefits of an Accessibility-Focused Case Evaluation

A White Paper by Michael Fiore

One of the likely unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that Special Need Trusts (SNT’s) may be impacted due to settlement criteria that can be based on past, present, and future medical needs.

Read the White Paper

Teleseminars on Disability, Diversity, and the Changing Workforce. One hour of learning that can change the way that you think.

Tech Update: Read an article about the implications of 32-bit and 64-bit processors for Assistive Technology Solutions.

Looking for qualified candidates with disabilities?
A Job Board for job seekers with disabilities and the businesses looking to hire them.

Is Disability Still a Cultural Phenomenon?

The other day I attended a wedding in which two people were asked to come up and articulate a reading from the Bible. The message presented by each man was essentially a mirror to the other, however, there was one clear difference in the response of the audience to each reading. As I looked around the audience during the second man’s reading which had (for all intents and purposes) the same exact meaning as the first, I noticed that everyone was crying or otherwise visibly moved.

As I took an assessment of the situation, I made some mental observations. Both men appeared to be somewhere in their mid-thirties, both men were white, both men looked fairly educated and affluent, and both men were well spoken.

As the men concluded their readings, they began their embarrassing march down the center isle in front of camera flashes, friends, acquaintances, and of course total strangers - and right then, at that moment - it hit me.

I knew why people were moved.

It was simple: The second man who had done his reading was a person with an outwardly, clear physical disability.

As the two men walked on, attendees shifted a bit, trying not to stare, trying not to show their overwhelming concern that this man may fall, and trying not to demonstrate their proud relief when the man was seated without incident. Afterwards, people tapped him on the back and told him what a great job he had done, and how moved they were with his delivery.

Unknowingly, what these people were saying was that they didn’t think he could stand up and read, presumably because he had a physical disability – and the fact that he could stand up and read made him extra special – presumably because he had a physical disability.

Nobody at the wedding meant to be insulting, quite to the contrary actually. They were trying to encourage someone who they thought possessed less than he did. In this case, his ability to perform a simple task at a family members wedding.

Now, weddings, while they do have their importance in our social and cultural roots, they can not, or at least should not affect the quality of life for someone as much as say, employment status. For example, one doesn’t fire a brother for getting tongue tied, nor does one withhold payment from a niece for running out of flowers before making it all the way to the altar. In this sense, weddings are not that significant to our way of life – despite what some people may think.

The point is this: if people are so concerned about a person with a disability’s performance at a wedding, how much more will they be concerned about a person with a disability’s performance in a vocational environment. If you had to cross your fingers, hoping that Johnny didn’t fall every time he passed you with a stack of papers, how much would you want Johnny in your work environment.

It’s not that we are evil people, it’s just that we are unfamiliar, unexposed, and uncomfortable. My advice is this: become familiar, become exposed, and become comfortable. Talk to Johnny - learn about his life, his past, his views, his accommodations. Work through your own comfort-level shortcomings, erase your predetermined notions, behave responsibly, decide logically, think compassionately. Acknowledge your role in human history. Understand the part you play in the larger scheme. Look for opportunities. Be assertive. And lastly, if Johnny should ever fall -well then, help him up...

For more information, contact Seth Acosta.


Find Us on Facebook Logo

Follow Us on Facebook