Statistically speaking 60% of people with disabilities are unemployed. This is because mainstream employers will not hire us. I have heard about programmers and lawyers not being hired. Many employers would not know how to deal with people with disabilities and many work places are inaccessible.
Because of this, we must create our own opportunities. Many people with disabilities are self-employed. I have been rather unsuccessfully self-employed since I was 16, though I recently started to develop different products such as accessibility software and hope my luck changes.
In the past two years I have also started working in the arts industry as a comedian.
I believe that people with disabilities can use the arts as a way to gain paid employment and travel. I have been doing this for two years and I already have my first international gig coming up.
They say that the key to success is picking something and doing it very well. I am a comedian, author and in the beginning stages of launching several software companies; do as I say not as I do. However I heard a theory that the young should experiment and in their 30s be a roaring success. I definitely figured out what didn't work, and am now 29 so there's hope for me yet.
I would encourage people with disabilities to experiment with something in the arts, or if you have the time try a few things. If you find a viable thing that you can make a career out of, practice it constantly so you're top notch at it. If you need advice ask your local disability organisation or arts advocate group for advice. People will be there to support you, you just have to find them. It can be a long process but if you find something you love and have the right guidance, you could have a great career.
Thane Pullan is the author of Teachings of a Grumpy Cripple and you can visit his website here
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