Employees with Disabilities

Employers think it costs too much to hire people with disabilities. But many articles dispel this myth including this one from JobJournal. “In fact, hiring a person with a disability usually costs very little. Seventy percent of workers with disabilities require no accommodations at all. For those who need special provisions, perhaps a custom keyboard, phone, or computer program, the average cost is less than $500.”
Plus, employers who hire a person with a disability gain a bonus. The Job Journal writes, “In exchange for going the extra mile to hire someone with a disability, employers in surveys consistently say they get a worker who is often better than average, with good attendance, punctuality and acceptance of authority. Surveys also find that those with disabilities are less likely to have an accident at work.”
Right on target. You could almost say my slogan in life has been, “Always proving to be as good or better than the everyone.” I’ve been fortunate to have a great career and one that makes me proud. I never thought I could make it as a freelancer because I would be responsible for marketing and finding clients.
Considering relay phone calls take away the “personal touch” factor, I couldn’t imagine how I would get around that. But I did. I couldn’t tell you what one thing worked. When I find new clients, I ask how they found me. Some through people whose names weren’t familiar, some through online searching, and some through networking.
The article also says, “…the biggest endorsement for hiring those with disabilities comes from the companies themselves. Ninety-seven percent of employers who have hired someone with a disability would do it again.” I’ve been lucky 99% of my clients used my services again. It could be 100%, but I can’t be sure of that and I don’t want to be dishonest. I guess I’m doing something right. I’ve made a few mistakes along the way and still do. It bugs the heck out of me, but I try to learn from them and move on.
What about kids? Deaf kids enjoy working at Six Flags over Texas. I loved going there as a kid, but I would never work there since it was a 30 minute drive for me. Hard to believe prices have more than doubled since I went as a teen. We owe my son a trip there for his birthday, but I’ll let hubby take care of that. I can’t ride roller coasters anymore because I black out on them and it was getting worse as I got older.
I got every job I applied for as a kid except one with a giant discount store. Never got a reason, but that’s OK. The jobs (pre-college graduate jobs)?
* University bookstore clerk.
* Toys R Us checker and stocker.
* Tandy Radio Shack filer.
* Data entry for an antique catalog.
* Casa Manana apprentice (we changed the sets between scenes). Most memorable kid job.
* Gift wrapper in my mom’s short-lived gift wrapping booth.
* Babysitting.
* Babysitting in a community center daycare.
* Putting mailing together, stapling, getting paper cuts (really young — was helping my mom’s organization).


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  1. I would guess the interview, and the initial decision are much bigger hurdles than the actual issues that would occur on the job.
    I’d be interested in hearing stories about interviews, and companies/people that were positive, and negative.

  2. Hey Meryl, You are featured in my blog (multiple sites) – go check it out!

    • Michele on July 14, 2008 at 12:08 pm
    • Reply

    My son (deaf) is currently working as a summer admin ass’t at a major foundation and also is a busboy 4 nights per week. He has also worked at an architectural firm and at an animal rescue organization. So far no problems due to deafness.

  3. Used to be DVR would advocate for employees by telling employers about some job credit involved for hiring disabled.
    I don’t know whether it still exists. Has to do with “ticket to work” incentives that benefit both the employee/employer.

    • Rox on July 15, 2008 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply

    Don’t forget, there is also the disabled access tax credit where companies can get some of their taxes back if they provide accommodations for their disabled employees.

  4. I’m a former interpreter (had to quit a couple years ago to care for my daughter who is disabled.) Our local Home Depot has hired several deaf employees, two of whom are frequently working the registers. When I see either of them I always go to their lane. My daughter is HH and has Down Syndrome, and signs some, (and always amazes me how much she remembers from when she was little and it was her only form of communication!) and she loves saying hello to these two employees as well. It’s great for her to see other’s who are “different” being successful in life.

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