“Around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. They are the world’s largest minority.” – [UN Enable Facesheet](http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=18) [Link: [Laura Carlson](http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/Online/webdesign/)]
Isn’t that reason enough to make accommodations? Caption videos? Do voice overs? Design accessible web sites? What more do you need? 10 percent of the WORLD. Imagine how many customers and visitors that could mean for a business, organization or web site.
I heard a story from a colleague. A friend of his has been out of work for a long time and he’s struggling to find a new job (I understand that considering my husband just got laid off for the second time in five years). However, the friend has a speech disability that is getting the way of opportunities.
I’m lucky I have a successful freelance writing business in spite of my hearing loss and deaf accent. I had a strong corporate career before switching to self-employment. Would it be harder for me to find a corporate job today in a time when many people are applying for the same job? Would people turn me away thinking they don’t want to do anything extra to help me adapt to the work environment (it would not be that much, if any).
I mentioned a long time ago that deaf people tend to be better drivers than the average driver because they focus more and use their eyes. Maybe the same can apply to people with disabilities in a job. We work harder because we want to prove we have every right to be in the jobs we have. We want to be independent.
I’ve said this many times — if I had been born hearing, I may not lead as good a life as I have today. Being deaf motivated me to succeed, prove myself and go the extra mile.
So if you meet someone with an unusual accent, can’t see you or wheels in to meet you — give them a chance. Let them answer questions in a different way. Write up your questions before the interview. Whatever. They might just surprise you.