My job is to find community employment for adults with disabilities. I work for an agency in the Chicagoland suburbs and when talking with others about what I do, I frequently get asked, "Why would your clients want to work? They receive disability benefits and don’t have to do anything for it." This comment always troubles me. People with disabilities have hopes, dreams and goals for their future, just like anybody else.
People with intellectual disabilities have traditionally not been viewed as valued employees. Times have changed. Not only are people with disabilities working in the community, they are participating in recreational programs and even giving back through volunteering. They are proving to be reliable, responsible and enthusiastic contributors in all they do.
The list of reasons for all individuals, including those with disabilities, to be out in the workforce is long and convincing.
- It raises self-esteem.
- Working to be part of the greater workforce in the community with others and completing your tasks successfully makes you feel good. Don’t you feel good when your desk is free of your to-do list? It’s the same for them.