United Nations Enable Factsheet on Persons with Disabilities

“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.

1 comment

    • MM on November 7, 2009 at 3:39 am

    There seems a new enablement and factsheet out every year, the UK/USA and the european Parliament issued them, unfortunately they are all guides and reccomendations, they all lack the teeth of law.
    One example was the european ‘recognition’ of British and other sign languages. It still cannot be enforced via law in education after 10 years. The problem is in partricualr with deaf children, they don’t do any push for rights, their parents as legal guardians make these decisions, by and large they are not going with an sign-oriented alone education, they want CI’s, hearing aids, oralism etc. This renders anyattempt at a law to oppose almost impossible, since ‘choice’ will overule, and you cannot segregate the deaf child by parental choices aka those wanting an BSL education, the numbers are too small for it to be feasible.
    There are concerns raised this would lead to a ‘tiered’ system of education with some deaf children getting better access than others. The American Disability act and its sister act in the UK are barely working, because of huge differences in deaf people, and theyhave abandoned them in part to follow instead the human rights act, which is seen as more effective.

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