Disability Rights Movement and How it Affected Employment
According to the oxford advanced leaner's dictionary disability is the state of being disabled or lack of something that is considered necessary, disabilities could be of sight, hearing, speech and diseases among others. Baron (2002, 585-599) in his studies gave a broader definition of disability in which he termed it as a complex phenomena that reflects on the interaction between the physical body of a disable person and the features of the society in which he or she habitats' in. Important to note is that disability can be present from the birth of a person or it can occur during one's lifetime. Beiser et al.(1994,857-863) in his studies highlighted the types of disabilities to include of physical disability, intellectual disability, developmental disability, mental health and emotional disabilities, sensory disability which is further categorized into visual impairment, balance disorder, hearing impairment, somato-sensory impairment, olfactory and gustatory impairment.
This paper is based on the rights movements of the disabled persons whose main objectives are to champion for the disabled persons' equal rights same as those accorded to the able person in terms of equal opportunity, accessibility, basic human respect, dignity and consideration. These movements have a history spanning over more than 200 years fighting for the disabled person to have better accommodation and inclusion in the society, better than they reportedly had before the year 1800.
Historians have attributed the beginning of the disable rights movements to 1817 when the American school of the deaf reportedly commenced classes in Hartford, Connecticut where it used sign language as the method for teaching and it also generally catered for persons with disability. The main objective of the school was not just to pass knowledge to the handicap but also to mould them to become self-reliant in the future. The other documented historical events that marked the beginning of the disable rights movements include the opening of the New England asylum for the blind in 1829, the introduction of Braille threes year later in 1832, the issuance of patent to the wheelchair in 1869 and the compensation of the physical disabled workers in 1911, all of this events marked the beginning for this vibrant disabled rights movements we have today (Marneros et al. 1992, 44-51).
There are also other historical moments that are perceived to be the success of the early disabled rights movements like the establishment of the national employ the handicap week in 1945, the 1946 enactment of the Hill-Burton act which gave the disabled federal aid during rehabilitation, the creation of the social security disability insurance in 1950 and lastly the air carrier access act of 1986 which prohibited the banning of disabled persons from flying. All these events in the history of the disable rights movements culminate as an earlier form of success for their main objective that is to guarantee equal rights o the disabled persons same as those accorded to the able-persons.
Behind these notable achievements for the disabled rights movements that have been mentioned above, there were committed and notable organizations that helped attain this level of success in the fight for the rights of the disabled people in the society. Some of these notable organizations include the national association for the deaf formed in 1880, the national centre for learning disabilities established in 1977, disabilities rights education and defense fund formed in 1979, the American federation for the physically handicapped that existed between 1940-1958 and the national council on disability that was established in 1978 as a cross disability organization that focused primarily on the government in relation to the disabled persons living in the society, among other notable organizations.
Cook and Razzano (2000, 87-13) who are also advocate for the disabled rights movements has acknowledged some commendable individuals who have contributed a lot to the fight for equal rights for the disabled persons living in our community. One among those acknowledge is Paul Longmore who was a history professor, mostly remembered for the instrumental part he played in the establishment of disability studies and the changes that were made on the social security which lead to disabled persons having more rights than before.
Statement of the problem
Thou, since the Americans with disabilities act of 1990 was passed many would argue that America today is a society that accords even the disabled person equal rights as his or her able-bodied counterpart, reports have refuted such claims citing the increasing number of rights movements which are advocating for the full and convenient pass through to state facilities and housing. Currently most disabled right movements are seen as trying to persuade willing individuals to become disabilities rights legal attorneys in order to guarantee the disabled persons none of their rights will be violated and let un punished by the court of law. According to Boardman et al. (2003, 467-468) there is a new trend among the disabilities rights movements that is driven by technology, since many rights movements have currently centered their objective in fighting for technological advancement that could aid the disabled persons in their hearing, visual and speech as well as their general health.
The main problems begins with the disability rights movement themselves, and according to a recent statistics released by the government it showed that a high percentage of disability rights movements that have been registered seem to have one single objective in common amongst themselves. This objective is to fight for the basic civil rights of the disabled persons this include equal opportunities. The problems with this objectives is that not most of them are fighting for the equal right of employment, the creation of jobs that easily suits the disabled persons and the self-reliance of disabled persons.
Public buildings are still been built with little or no regard to the accessibility by the disabled persons, this willing omission already makes it impossible for a disabled person to be ever employed or work in such a building. Secondly not many jobs suits people with varying disabilities and one such example is the marketing profession which due to its nature it can't favor persons either physical, sensory, intellectual, mental health or developmental disability. Thirdly technological advancement at the work place has also limited the possibility of disabled person being employed, since they are been developed with less regard to the disabled persons.
Interviews conducted with disabled persons tend to show that they blame they their lack of employment to lack of necessary skills that could even otherwise make them self-employed. Thou credit has to be given to the education they are been offered at their learning institutions, it is still evident that no training has been accorded to them so as to nurture their respective talent or develop skills of which they could gain competitive advantage for (Drake et al., 1994, 519-532).
Analysis of the problem using symbolic interactionism
Symbolic interactionism is a social change theory that places more emphasis on micro-scale social interaction; it was put across by sociologists Charles Cooley, Herbert Blumer and George Herbert Mead. The theory is based on the assumption that individuals act towards things based on the meaning those things have on them, and this meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through individual interpretation.
Referring to the symbolic interactionism researches carried out, they tend to connect the problem of unemployment among the disabled with it this social change theory. These researches argue that people view the disabled persons as people incapable of performing tasks that can be done by an able-bodied person. This perception is drawn from the way disabled persons are seen to interact with the society where they are always treated with a lot of care and they are assisted in almost everything that they do. From such an observation people will interpret that the disable persons can't cater for themselves and that they will always need supervision.
Such assumptions like the symbolic interactionism assumption exist in the mind of employers and even among some of the disabled persons. This has lead to employers not preferring to employing disabled people and the disabled people consider themselves incapable of doing what an able-bodied person can do (Beiser et al., 1994,857-863).
Proposal to ameliorate the problem
The research proposes that vocational rehabilitation program that ends up providing supported employment for the disabled be used to help ameliorate the problem of unemployment among persons living with disability in the society. Human resource consultant and skills development officials in the United States have recommended that all the disabled persons should be encouraged to enroll for rehabilitation programs that will accord them with working skills or develop some of the skills they already have, so as to make them viable in the competitive labor market with their newly acquired competitive skills.
According to Carone et al. (1991, 247-253) vocational rehabilitation program involves four steps. The first step is the guidance stage where participants are assisted to identify their needs, evaluate their education level and current employment skills. At this stage they…