How many of us are aware that:

  • As of third quarter 2012, it was reported by the US Census Bureau that there are around 8.1 million people in the US that have a difficult time seeing with around 2.0 million who were blind or cannot see
  • Around 15.5 million fully-grown persons struggled with one or more daily living involved activities like:
    • Getting around the home
    • Bathing
    • Dressing and eating
  • Persons with disabilities around the age group of 21 to 64 have an average monthly income of $1,961 in contrast to those who do not have a disability with a median income of $2,724

How Common Are Specific Disabilities by Age?

[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Lesa Bradshaw shared during a TEDx video that society concludes people’s ability to contribute to the workforce society by the group that we tend to associate them with. In other words, we categorize and stereotype with the bias of what we believe we know. What don’t we know?

Life presented me with the opportunity to experience what it can be like in a wheelchair. As a result of being a Sarcoma patient, it was a reality-check of the perceptions I had of disability when I was healthy. It was easy for me to assume that a person that can walk and look normal was not a disabled person. It was easy for me to judge without having meaningful conversations with people who could teach me the flaws in my thoughts.

I was wrong in many ways and I continue to learn from others. Several who do have a ‘disability’ prefer for social dialogs to use the terms:

  • Condition
  • Gift
  • Special talent
  • Disorder
  • Affliction

It depends on the condition. Yet, during college, I was also criticized for saying, “I just want to be normal.” Meaning, I did not want to admit that I have a disability. Additionally, every time I checked that disability checkbox in a job application, there are perceptions on the hiring side that is subject to the interpretation of whether I can or cannot contribute. What are job seekers to do? What are seasoned professionals, in age, supposed to do as they begin to become a part of the percentages that have an affliction or condition that falls within the category of disability?

America's Education: Population 25 and Over by Educational Attainment[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

During my journey towards a higher education, several of my cohorts suffered from their disability in silence. Veterans hobbled across campus in pain using their canes and some of them would have their books and gear spill on the ground. Rushing to help them I noticed their body language that informed me they were embarrassed. They thanked me and hobbled off to class, declining my offer to help them get there. “Do you have your green sheet?”

The green sheet is the form that our college referred to that is intended for those with access disability services. The most common response was, “What’s that?” I would explain the services as the students would try to shuffle off to class. “No, but thank you. I don’t think I need that.” My question is, why? Is it the stigma? Is it embarrassing?

Working for a Living[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

With the rising tide of baby boomers reaching the age of conditions that fall into a category of a disability. It adds to the frustrations with the perceptions of who is and is not economically viable with their societal contributions. Thus, the subject of ageism and disability.

What can we do differently? I believe that we must elevate the awareness with dialogs to adapt and adjust. Why? Because doing so can:

  1. Be an opportunity to explore the points of interest to address STEM education for all age groups
  2. Assist with growing the network security talent pools for businesses to pull from if there is a shortage of network security professionals
  3. Assist with elevating the income potential for those who do struggle as a result of community views regarding disability
  4. Elevate veterans with the empowerment they need to fulfill their desire to have a mission that contributes to the security goals that remains a part of their mission to serve their communities
  5. Normalize the emotional intelligence that is needed for those who do struggle with PTSD so they may be reintegrated into the workforce (if they currently are not) as necessary and valuable contributors
  6. Encourage more organizations to integrate and implement psychology professionals to help with business initiatives as a result of human-centric concerns
  7. Assist with business ethics that are at the center (or should be) of organization goals that cater to global markets
  8. Lend to successful project flows for cross-functional group dialogs
  9. Promote a clearer path for Project Managers to understand how their projects align with business missions and visions
  10. Contribute to the social responsibility that speaks to a large portion of what our customers and audience needs from technology