Disability and Employment

I think I’ll flag this interesting little video from Granada news up, not only because it is about a nonverbal young man with severe autism finding employment, but also because he’s from my old home town, Congleton. I found it on my old school’s facebook page, so I suspect he might be a former pupil. I’m not entirely sure what to make of the kind of supported employment it details, though: the young man is clearly happy in his job, and he’s apparently very good at it, but I’m worried schemes like this could lead to people with severe disabilities being forced off benefits and into work more and more, when they aren’t really up to it. It makes me ask myself whether I could do a proper, regular, payed job? While I want to contribute to society, as opposed to mucking around on the internet or trundling around London in my powerchair all day, I think the type of support I’d need to do a nine to five job every day just would not be worth it. I only got my degree with the support of people like Esther. I volunteer when I can at Charlton Park Academy, but my physical limitations and the support I’d require would make trying to hold a regular job simply too complex. I worry that schemes like the one detailed in this film send out the message that disabled people can get jobs if we want to, but are just lazy cripples happy to leech off the state, when the truth is not so simple.

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