Blog Off-Topic

Why You Shouldn’t Judge Disabled Folks Who Aren’t Working

January 9, 2021

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A Page I follow shared a photo of a man with no arms holding a wheel barrel with a rope around his shoulders which seems to be on his farm and the text said ‘tell me again why you can’t work?” I have a problem with this.

That man’s disability probably doesn’t contain harmful stigmas like autism or other invisible conditions. You can’t tell him just to grow arms but people think we can just turn off our autistic behavior like a switch or for folks with a mental illness ‘be happy’ or someone with chronic fatigue ‘ they need a good night’s sleep.’ Also, he has someone to help him on that farm.

Yes, places say they hire disabled people, but sometimes there is more to the story.

Yes you hire disabled people are you

  • going to be understanding when they need time off for appointments/flare-ups
  • are you going to punish them for things out of their control due to their disability (like hand tremors, stutters, etc)
  • are you going to pay them equally?
  • are you going to respect if they can only work less than 20 hrs a week if they collect SSI or intentionally schedule them over?
  • are you going to make accommodations?

Most workplaces aren’t willing to accommodate us. They act like we want them to go to Mars to get the Mars rover.

To me, it’s implying if he can do it then everyone should; not considering other barriers like discrimination, ableism, lack of accessibility, etc. The guy in the photo had access to accommodations that most disabled folks, can’t get.

Also, employers don’t want to hire disabled people because they know we will ask for accommodations. Also, we will work slower than an able-bodied person. We will need more days off for Drs. appointments/symptom flare-ups. In an autistic person’s case, may need more time to learn the job.

We can’t just say everyone should be working and you have no excuse to not be working because this guy is when we don’t know the story. We are not educating ourselves on the barriers that disabled folks have.

Sometimes I wish Nts/abled-bodied people would STFU about disabled people working.

I hate it when people judge based on what they know. What you know is not the only thing that happens.

Maybe in the past, they did work but their condition got in the way so much, they were fired.

Just because it was easy for YOU to get hired and get accommodations doesn’t mean it will be easy for someone else.

If gaining employment/accommodations was ‘so easy’ then 80% of adults with autism wouldn’t be unemployed. Disabled folks in general would be working if it was as simple as you think.

Disabled people want to work but their condition is their barrier. Discrimination is their barrier. Ableism is their barrier.

Even if there are people with said condition working, just because whatever they are doing works for them doesn’t mean it works for everyone. My mom can see a disabled person working at Walmart and assume retail works for me just because it works for him.

I also hate this message. Do you think disabled people are ONLY worth working at Walmart?

I hate it when my mom compared me to someone with a physical disability. For one, maybe they don’t have as much trouble getting support as autistics. Maybe their disability doesn’t have as many stigmas as autism. Stigmas are the reason why we do not get the help we need. When I went through that program that I thought would help me find a job, the lady they gave me refused to believe that I am autistic due to the stigma. Her reason was ‘because of how I talk.’ she blocked out any criticism given so she can learn that how someone talks have nothing to do with being autistic. Instead of saying ‘I didn’t know autism is different in everyone, I was wrong’ she wanted to stay ignorant and misinformed. It’s one thing if you didn’t know and want to correct your mistake, it’s a whole different story when someone wants to stay ignorant.

As a result, I was not placed properly. Autistic adults are struggling because of these stigmas.

People think autism stops at 18 so resources for autistic adults are scarce.

I had trouble getting my mom to understand why a ‘regular’ job will be too much for me. I wish my mom would look past ‘stocking shelve’ (because I decided to work from home)

that won’t matter if

  • I can’t even get an interview
  • say I get an interview but never make it past that step
  • can’t get along with the NT co-workers. I’ve been the black sheep in the herd when I was in school due to my differences
  • if I don’t work fast enough
  • if I am expected to understand subtle instructions
  • being unable to understand non-verbal cues
  • difficulties with socializing.
  • if I am penalized for needing days off for appointments

Hiring disabled people is irrelevant if employers still punish them for working slower due to their disability, taking too many days off for appointments, etc

, and several other points. It doesn’t matter how ‘easy’ the job is. If the barrier is still there, the job does not matter.

Be understanding instead of assuming everyone’s situation is the same just because someone you know is able to hold a job with autism or any other disability.

Yes, they are able to hold a job but do you know the context? How do you know they don’t struggle to keep their job? Or came close to being fired due to missing days for doctor’s appointments. Health is more important than making someone else rich.

Even non-disabled people struggle with jobs because hiring teams are too picky with who will qualify.

Just because someone is unemployed does not mean they are lazy. For all that is holy; if someone needs SSI or food stamps cut the ‘taking handouts’ shit. I am 100% sure it takes more than walking into an office to get this stuff. Plus you don’t know the battles they fought to get it and you have the audacity to knock them down and call it a ‘handout.’

I will never understand how something that takes like 3/4 denials and a court appeal is a handout. The process varies depending on other factors the person has. Remember if finding work was as simple as you think it is they would be employed. Instead of blocking people out when they try to educate you, listen. I know when I talk about autism it’s based on my experience BUT I won’t assume everyone has the thing I did like I had teachers who understood my struggles but most kids with autism/ADHD didn’t have that luxury.

The world would be so much better if everyone stop judging just because someone they know had the luxuries that allowed them to seek employment.

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