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Making the World Accessible: The 75% Problem

Another Memoir Monday and another edition of

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

This week and next are both about challenge, as the title of this blog series says.

***

Q: What are the biggest challenges that you face in regard to disability?

A: This week’s question I choose to base mostly around a YouTube video I came across last week.

I may have already addressed this topic in a previous post, but when it comes to today’s question, there really is no other answer I can go with.

I could write and write about this subject, for endless words upon words, but the following video speaks for itself:

Making the World Accessible: TEDxBeaconStreet talk with Dave Power, Perkins CEO, on YouTube

The Perkins CEO speaks of a statistic that I hear, more or less accurately, and often I am brought down by the futility of it.

I don’t want to seem like I am pitting us against them, us visually impaired who want to work, up against the big bad rest of the world that stands in our way.

It’s the same sort of us against them that seems to be going on between feminists and everyone else/men or whatever group you want to go by these days.

Placing blame is not the answer. Playing the victim is not what we should be shooting for. Finding some way to work together is my dream.

The above video says that for visually impaired young people and adults wanting to find jobs, the biggest obstacle is not technology, but it’s the rest of the world.

I can’t say I disagree with this, therein lies the challenge, because I know there are things we can all do to improve such an overwhelmingly high statistic.

The challenge, for me, lies in finding ways to show my skills and talents to the world and having them give me the chance to prove them.

I fear the judgement and the criticisms I will inevitably face. How long will it take for the world to catch up?

Technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Two hundred years ago it was barely conceivable for someone born visually impaired or blind to even get an education.

Dave Power is President and CEO of the school that started it all in North America, that taught Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

Two hundred years later and through a school like Perkins or through a neighbourhood school, like the one I attended, education is a right that is denied to nobody.

Now it’s what comes once school has been completed that’s the issue.

What did we go to school for? To learn social skills. To learn how to read and write. But what comes next?

The realities of adulthood came up on me like a rising tide. I could not hold it back, but paying bills, filing taxes, making a contribution…

For any visually impaired person who feels like they can’t fit in and that there’s no place for them in the working world…I know how it feels.

I don’t want to make employers nervous. How many sighted applicants would be placed before me in line for any job I might apply for?

What safety concerns would an employer have when considering hiring someone who can not see?

I wish for an open dialogue with the employers of the world. If only they could get to know me and see just how responsible I am.

If only they knew how amazing technology is these days.

When I go over all the jobs in the world that someone without sight simply couldn’t do, I despair that there is nothing out there for me.

When I think again I correct my thinking and, once again, I want to show the world just how capable I am. It makes me want to prove myself all the more.

The stress of this and the fear and worry that I will never find meaningful work sometimes challenges me so much that I want to give up.

But that’s just not me. Life is full of challenges. I’ve been facing those challenges all my life.

Am I up for the challenge?

Is the rest of the world?

***

Perkins President and CEO: Dave Power/About

About TEDxBeaconStreet

***

What do you think of the 75% statistic I refer to in this post? What do you think can or should be done to improve it?

Next week’s challenge question ties into this weeks’ and is as follows:

What do you think are the biggest challenges that your family members face in regard to disability?

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6 thoughts on “Making the World Accessible: The 75% Problem

  1. I’ll come back to the video, because I have a spouse asleep beside me, at the moment.

    But I agree – us vs. them seems to be a dichotomy where there doesn’t need to be one. Better to have that open dialogue – or, even better, a chance to prove yourself and your capabilities, and THEN the open discussion. While there are certainly jobs that require sight, there are also many that don’t- except we seem to have a vision-biased culture, and maybe employers have never stopped to consider if vision is necessary, strictly speaking, for the positions they’re offering.

    Reblogging this, and sharing!

  2. Pingback: A Day For Dreams | Her Headache

  3. Pingback: I Don’t Want Coffee. Here Are Some Links, Though. | Rose B Fischer

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