Statistically, I’m an exception. Why? As I am lucky enough to be in full-time work and I am a disabled person.
It saddens me that this is the case, but the stats tell the story. For me, being able to work means a lot. It gives me the chance to make a positive difference, a sense of accomplishment and routine, all of which are really important. I have had spells both working for myself (something quite common for disabled people) and as an employee so can see the merits of both.
Working though is a choice and has an impact. I know people who actively choose not to, or don’t have the opportunity to work. The contribution that many disabled people make through volunteering is also significant and should be more widely recognised. It can also be a means to gain experience and softer skills needed as a bit of a stepping stone, or as an end its own right.
The impact of work means that I have to make choices. This weekend, it has meant doing very little at all. I have not strayed far from bed as I’ve sought to rest my weary body. It’s not something I like doing at all but it means I’m good to go again come the start of the week, ready to try to make that difference.
Writing this blog has been a bit tricky, but I decided to do so in order to raise awareness. I’d also say that the sense of fulfilment that you get from work is great. A few people I know have been discouraged from working, which I think is a shame. To be clear – I’m not saying everyone should work, but if you want to, you should be given the opportunity to do so.
That said, the impact of work does have a flip side and the physical demands it can exert should not be underestimated. Behind every disabled person there is a story and a complex range of factors that make up what is going on. Each day can vary too depending on circumstances.
There is a huge gap between between the number of disabled people who want to work and the considerably fewer number who have a job. Being able to work is one of the most important and valuable things in my life. I’d like other disabled people who want to experience that feeling to be able to do so.