Just a few thoughts on one of the many issues related to physical disabilities and the broader ideas of “opportunity” as presented by many groups.
I am fortunate in having only the one “easy to work around” problem, moderate deafness, but unfortunate in being caught in the trap of too severe for job positions (army, firies was a childhood dream, my metal trades pre-apprenticeship was wasted, no one would employ me with a pre-existing condition), but not severe enough for government assistance.
My biggest feeling of “let down” was precisely the organisations supposed to assist disabled. It is not realistic to tell people “they can do anything” throughout their childhood/teens, and leave it until they enter the workforce to discover, case by case, thats not the way it really is.
But this is all ground gone over a lot of times, my point today is how a large pool if talent may be being ignored by society as a whole due to a lack of opportunity for the disabled.
In effect it is extremely difficult to get a business up and running, usually requiring a good pool of capital as well as a few good ideas. For myself, I have one business running, and ideas for another 3, but lack of capital restricts me to my original venture for now.
To get access to this capital I have spent 20 years living “cheaply”, taking on a number of jobs, none earning much more than average wages. None of these jobs were what I wanted to do in life, most involved physical work.
But without the opportunity to have worked these jobs it would have been impossible for me to have saved the money necessary for my first big step to amassing assets (shares,houses), most of which has been sold to fund my business.
Thats the opportunity missing for most disabled, particularly those with limited mobility. Just how does that segment of the population gain the seed capital needed? There is the option of a desk job, either public service or private, but it is extremely hard to be as “work mobile” as a physically able person, meaning the person may (without extra effort), become a little too reliant on that employer, and limit their skill set.
A considerable amount of time and effort is spent by various government agencies to place disabled people into the work force, if I may be heretical, some of that money may be better spent as a “silent partner” funding business startups for disabled people.
Indeed if I was to ever become massively wealthy its the kind of “not for profit” agency Id like to set up myself. As per usual for these type of businesses it would be a continual lossmaker, as most businesses tend to fail. I could see massive positives for society as a whole, and for the disabled individuals in particular. A few dozen wheelchair bound (vocal) millionaires would do more for disabled access to venues than a sea of government legislation. I want to see fantastically wealthy “wheelies” demanding things or they spend their money elsewhere. The existing model of disability services merely assumes a low/middle class life is all disabled aspire too. There needs to be better than this.