Announcing the IMAGE Center’s Disability Skills Library!

Have you ever wondered how an amputee ties his or her shoes, how a blind person knows what clothes to wear, or how someone who is paralyzed transfers in and out of a wheelchair? The Image Center’s Disability Skills Library is a collection of  candid and informative YouTube videos which provide the answers to these questions and many more. Currently featuring over 9 hours of footage from around the world, our library is a comprehensive compilation of disability information. Check it out!


Are You Really Needed


This is a great time of year to look for work. Everybody who is actually in their office is in a good mood because of the summer and not too busy to talk with you. This is the time of year when creative CEO’s and directors are recharging their batteries, formulating plans, and analyzing shortcomings.

So, what about you? Are you meeting with them? Are you networking with them? Have you written a thought provoking article lately about your field? Have you developed a new program idea?

If not, you should know that the economy doesn’t really care. No, no, I’m not being snarky or negative. I’m making a point.

The economy is currently producing the same level of Gross Domestic Product now that it was in 2007 with fifteen million fewer workers. The reason for this is in part that the economy is more efficient now than it was then. But, whatever the reasons, you should be aware that you aren’t needed in today’s workforce unless you demonstrate unusual drive and skills.

Lest you think there “Aren’t any jobs,” I refer you to the monthly data from the Department of labor that indicates there were three million openings in May of 2011 and that the labor turnover was about three percent. So, in your local company with 200 people, six of them either left, died, got fired, or something last month and there were vacancies needing to be filled. The question is, will they be filled by you?

Are you really networking with the people who know about new positions? Are you demonstrating your value to them by creating articles, developing new ideas, really staying connected with the middle management folks who do the hiring? These are the folks in positions of effect–that is, what they do creates new positions, sets goals, determines strategies and carry out the accomplishments of the company or organization.

Are you excited enough about your chosen profession to read new articles every day? Do you keep up with trade publications, blogs, magazines and listservs to put your finger on the pulse of current thinking and opportunities?

Do you have a sense of what makes you special, unique or better than the next person? If you don’t, how will others know what it is?

With today’s employee surplus, its a buyer’s market. Employers can pick and choose amongst possible applicants, knowing there is no shortage. If you aren’t quite right, somebody else will be.

If you have a severe disability there are other issues. The world’s message to you is, “stay home,” “You’ve got it hard enough already” and, “the government will take care of you.” So, If you want to work, you’d better be prepared to do what the experts do when they look for jobs, not just be one of the herd. Nobody I know who has employed the techniques listed above has ever failed to find meaningful employment, but, many I know who simply send out resumes and fill out standard applications are sitting at home and probably will be for the foreseeable future. So, if you really don’t understand the modern work finding process, hook up with somebody who does and do what they tell you. Stop using worn out old methods that don’t work and learn the newer and more effective methods of how to link with others. When you do, the process will become interesting and fun and … Well, it’ll be all the things you hoped your profession would be.


Some Days It Just Hurts

Frustrated guy with hand over faceThere’s no denying that some days it just hurts. No matter how I act, no matter what I do, the world simply won’t budge.

I’m walking to the bus stop this morning and arrive just as the bus pulls up. I walk up and say to this guy who is in line, “Hey, can you tell me what number bus this is?” He turns around, does a double take, puts his hand on my shoulder in the kindest most disgustingly patronizing way says, “It’s an 8. Is that your bus? Do you need help?” All of this in a tone that places me somewhere below the functional level of a 2 year old.

I say, “No, that’s not my bus,” and walk away, just wanting to get away from this walking attitude problem shaped like a human.

Oh, but it doesn’t end there. A minute later after all the people in line are on the bus this guy jumps off the bus and runs back to me to ask, …You guessed it!! “Son, did you want this bus?” When I responded that I didn’t he said, “Are you sure?” I was. “OK,” he says and I realize he’s the driver of the damn bus. He’s making this entire bus load of people wait while he finds out if the blind man really does, or does not, want to ride his bus.

So, what can I say. There will come a time when this sort of humiliation will not exist, but that time is not now. For now, we must learn to empathize, tolerate, avoid and educate. If pain teaches lessons we have buckets full of it. If bearing humiliation strengthens we’re really really strong.

If on the other hand, you slip occasionally and say, “Take your hands off me and stop treating me like a two year old.” There’s a place for that too. Its the only thing some people understand or, maybe they won’t understand. maybe you’ll just feel better. And, that’s good sometimes as well.