Challenging the Status Quo

Challenging the Status Quo

Written by Karen Lai, Employment Connector

It is a well-known fact that people with disabilities face barriers within the employment field and in other areas of the community as well. There are still some people that are “surprised” that people with disabilities can work or even contribute to the community. Or maybe, you get people second-guessing your skill or ability level. As a person with a disability myself, it is rare, but there are people that I encounter that are “surprised” that I work, or they feel that they should congratulate for working or saying “well done”. I am often caught by surprise, so I just nod and smile, with no smart comment I can give back!!

Some people in our society may assume that people with disabilities are unable to work and thus will be dependent on families, caregivers, or other supports necessary for them to participate in community. They don’t seem to have high expectations and whatever they do, they will be successful. So, it is kinda an innate feeling that it is the role of people with disabilities to always challenge the status quo – to challenge the existing beliefs out there of people with disabilities.

All people have various levels of abilities and we all need different levels of support to allow each of us to function to the best of our ability, and we all need to find what works for us.

When people with disabilities are in the employment world, some people may find this an inspiration. But I encourage us all to just take it. We all, whether you have a disability or not, get inspired by other people because each person lives a different life, and we never will understand until we live in their shoes. People with disabilities will always be known as inspiring, because quite often people won’t understand what’s life like with a cognitive challenge, using a mobility aide, or if you move differently. People won’t understand unless they are in your shoes.

Unfortunately, I believe it in everyone’s best intentions to always challenge the status quo, to always work harder, and dream bigger to get where you want to be. If you wish to be employed, put in more effort to get where you want to be, prove to others that they are wrong or their assumptions need to be challenged.

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