Diary of a Goldfish blog hosted a Blogging Against Disablism Day. I’ve been reading through the blogs that participated and found that I can relate to many of the writer’s experiences.
College and Disability blog “Why are so many people with disabilities unemployed?”
The author notes that according to the US Department of Labor 15.2% of people with disabilities are unemployed and 8.1% of people without disabilities are unemployed. They write about how there are three main things making it difficult for people with disabilities to find employment: academic barriers, place of employment barriers (meaning physical accessibility), and societal attitude barriers. Of course, the greatest barrier is the societal one.
From personal experience social attitudes, is the biggest one my husband and I have faced. He scored so high on his GED exam that he was offered one year paid tuition to a university. However, because of ADD he had trouble concentrating in a large classroom environment. He tried tutors and still had trouble in class. His academic adviser suggested he quit instead of finding some accomodation.
Most of the jobs I’ve lost were do to excessive sick days. I’m really not sure if the ADA protects people with disabilities for that. America does have some of the tightest sick day policies in the western world. At my mother’s job it’s just seven days. Since I have a weak immune system I got bronchitis for a couple of weeks every few months for a long time. My doctor now suspects I have asthma due to the constant infections. I was missing a lot of work. When I had an understanding manager/supervisor they advocated for me tirelessly to keep upper management from firing me. They knew that when I wasn’t ill I was damn good at my job. Other times I would just get fired.
Voodoodoll writes about working while coping with depression and anxiety as I do. “The Irony of Coping”
Out of all the participants my favorite blog title is Benefit Scrounging Scum. I see the humor in it since I’ve read or heard so many comments about lazy Americans on welfare and I would technically be in that category. There is a similar attitude going on in across the pond. This blogger is in the UK. They tell the story of how they were feeling extremely ill and forced themselves to drive to work because they wanted to do their job. They became sick all over the interior of the car. That’s when they realized they had to quit work. Something similar happened to me except I was at work. I wasn’t coping well with an increase in blood sugar medication. A couple of hours after a company lunch I had to rinse out my dress in the bathroom sink. I went to a female supervisor sobbing. She didn’t care how I smelled, or maybe I had cleaned up well enough with just dispenser soap and paper towels. She put her arms around me and said she’d let the main supervisor know I had gone home. The next day when I came in, the main sup told me it was my last because I had missed too many days.
However humiliating the experience was for me and the blogger of Benefit Scrounging Scum, we both started out paths toward better health. They became an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
There are other bloggers that participated in Blogging Against Disablism Day. Go browse and share them with others so they can gain some understanding of what it’s like to have a disability.