It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Friday, January 30, 2009

51% of Workplace Accomodations Cost NOTHING

A 1982 study by WVa University's Job Accommodation Network, commissioned by the federal government, found that 51% of workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities cost NOTHING. Another large chunk costs less then $500 (I don't have the book with me I got the numbers out of). This study of course was done in 1982, before so many high tech tools became available, so I wonder is that number has changed, but I bet the 51% has stayed steady over the last 26 years. Why would I say that? Because so far it's worked out that way for me. Twice.

[image description: woman holding pad that says intern on the top]

In the fall of 2007 I took community services for families for the first time. The goal of the class is to work in a group of 3 or 4 to provide a service for a community agency. We had to come up with an end product. An event perhaps, or maybe promotional materials. Whatever the organization needs at the time.

That first placement I went to a local hospital to plan a fall festival on the peds unit. In this particular hospital my supervisor gets a 1-2 page printout of every kid there that lists pertinent information such as what procedures they have lined up for the day. The info listed is pretty extensive and lists things that don't have anything to do with her role. What she usually does first thing in the morning is copy down 4 pieces of the most important information (to her) onto another sheet of paper, so she has an easier reference point for the day. She wanted us to do that. Except that I can't do that. I have ocularmotor (eye) problems that make things like that damn near impossible. The things we were looking for were in the same spot on every form, but I repeatedly couldn't find them.

I freaked. I've spent my whole life getting out of activities my eyes prohibit me from doing. But what am I going to do, go to a job interview and tell my boss, "I'm sorry but I just don't do paperwork?" I don't think that'd go over well. So I called the OT I went to when I was a little kid. Why not do everything on a computer? Why do they have to print it all out? Most (if not all) programs have a find function (under the edit menu). You type in what you're looking for, press find, and up it pops--highlighted. Then I could copy/paste it into the other sheet and print it out afterwards. I never got a chance to try this because I had to withdraw from the course, but it's a very simple, very ingenious, very free idea. Not only that, but a very green idea as well. I'd only be printing out that final sheet instead of all of them.

This semester I am doing a formal internship with the Towson University Outreach transition skills program for young adults with intellectual disabilities ages 18-21. The internship is both something very boring and very exciting for me. The first thing I have to do is update the resource binder they have that lists all of the adult service providers that these students will be linked up to after graduation (boring). Then I have to invite representatives to come and do some presentations, and, my own personal touch, invite some consumers I know to talk to the students about how to manage your own staff (not so boring). The last thing that I will be doing is purely for my own fun and enjoyment (the fact that there is educational benefit to the students is besides the point). I will be working with the local independent living center to organize some mass transit travel training. I get to plan field trips. *grin*

There is a very large problem with this placement through. Just as my physical disability necessitates accommodations in the workplace, so apparently does my psychological one. I need very close supervision in a work environment, and that's not something you'd pick up at first glance. My job will require me to go through this list one by one. That's not my idea of fun, and she doesn't even want me to do it on site. She has nowhere for me to do it. She doesn't have an available computer for me to use. That's bad news. She wants me to do something boring with no degree of supervision, and I won't go off on a tangent, but internet is my crack. I need away from computer activities. I would have been freaking last night, but I decided to forget about it and blog about ice. I've also been making a conscious decision to sleep more. Very maladaptive coping mechanisms...

Until this morning in the shower that is. My mom comes up with all of her best ideas in the shower. I guess Ive inherited that. I have such bad computer issues that I voluntarily walked into my shrink's office sometime in the middle of July and handed her the powercord to my laptop. I told her I never wanted to see it again, and it's been in the bottom drawer of her file cabinet ever since. I blog out of the library. But I can't work out of the library. And I can't work out of my placement site either, because there is nowhere for me to work. My bright idea? Go get my powercord from my shrink and leave my laptop permanently at my placement site. I will be able to do the work I need to do at work but since I will be leaving it there I won't have 24/7 access to it. Another example of a free workplace accommodation. I'm providing it myself.

[image description: light bulb]

In the United States, the unemployment rate among individuals with disabilities ages 18-65 who are able to work has remained steady at 70%. Why? Why won't employers hire us? is it really so hard? Or so expensive like people think it is? I do know that not all workplace accommodations are free. The statistic is 51%. There is the other 49%. A friend of mine is legally blind. The school system she works for had to purchase screen magnification software for her computer, for example. Not free, but not hard either...


Adelaide Dupont said...


Sounds like an interesting job.

And you really seem to have grasped the concept of the Paperless Office.

Slim majority, though.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Get your own free Blogoversary button!
design by