In my experience, it is not hard for disabled people to find a job. It is, however, hard for those of us with disabilities to be accepted and acknowledged for being capable of work beyond sitting at a desk in our wheelchair in front of a computer.
I am not saying anything is wrong with that but we deserve to have good-paying job opportunities that we enjoy and are completely capable of doing. Most of the time you see a disabled person working they are sitting in front of a computer. The only type of job I ever had, as someone with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), was doing just that.
Disabled people have dreams, too, even of becoming stars and being on the big screen. We have the potential, just like any able-bodied person, to do a number of different jobs. And we should be given that opportunity to show our talents. I hate when I see nondisabled people play the role of being disabled. Those kinds of roles should be left for people like us. After all, we really do know what it is like because it’s a reality for us.
If a disabled person wanted to be a model, I feel like we should have that opportunity. When we think of modeling we think of a perfect person with a perfect body. There is no such thing as perfect and I feel like anyone can be a model. We’re all different and there are plenty of beautiful disabled people in this world.
Read more about types of muscular dystrophy
Disabled people are unique. We can be strong and fit, and taking pictures to show that or ripping a runway will prove to others that we can be model material. That said, now that I’m older, I still have a hard time deciding on what I want to do in life. I’ve realized I’m different throughout the years and I don’t get the same job opportunities as most people. I’ve tried school a couple of times and still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t have many resources as a disabled person. Both times I went to school I chose to study a career that will have me sitting behind a desk.
I use to ask myself, do I want to spend my life like that? I would want something fun and exciting like everyone else. But in today’s society, it’s not many choices that I have because being behind a desk is what people expect to see me doing. My very first job was through the work-study program at my high school. I wanted to join because it would give me work experience and something I could put down on my resume when I got out in the real world.
We did mock interviews, talked about how we should dress, and what to do, and what not to do on the job. My teacher assigned me to a job where I sat behind a desk. I was excited and I loved working there but looking back, what if I wanted to work in a more fast-paced environment? What if I wanted to be someone who serves at a restaurant?
Not every disabled person wants to be put behind a computer screen. I feel like we should be asked what our interests are and what kind of job we would like. I don’t want people to think that’s the only thing we can do. You never really know what a person is capable of unless you ask.
My wish is that one day the disabled community will get the opportunity to be on the big screen. I don’t want us to be judged if we want to become models or for people to ask “how are you going to model?”
I want people to see us as great talented people despite being disabled. Not just people working behind a desk. The legendary Stevie Wonder is an inspiring example; his blindness may have made him different from others, but with his talent, drive, and artistry, he overcame his disability.