Disability
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More than half of disabled believe they don’t have equal work opportunities

Disabled Worker

Fifty-two% of disabled people do not believe they have the same opportunities as others in the workplace‚ a survey has found.

The survey‚ conducted by Stanley Hutcheson & Associates (SHA)‚ a skills development firm specialising in practical work readiness programmes‚ also found that 87% of respondents were considered by the general public to be less intelligent than their able-bodied counterparts

More than half – 57% — also believed that on a whole‚ South Africa could do more to support the disabled community.

Other findings from the survey showed that 44% of participants believed that there is a major attitude difference in how peers and the general public perceive them‚ and 75% did not require special assistance at home and used public transport such as taxis and trains.

Hutcheson says: “The survey revealed that many of the learners’ life experiences were not vastly different from able-bodied people. For example‚ the majority of our respondents relied on public transport as part of their daily commute. One student even stipulated that they spent over R1‚500 a month on transport. This is quite a steep cost if we consider that the monthly state grant for people with disabilities is around R1‚415.”

Other interesting insights revealed that students’‚ whose disability was not physically apparent such as those who have corrective eyeglasses or had mood disorders such as bi-polar etc.‚ were not treated all that differently in general. However‚ this was not the case for students whose disabilities had much more visible attributes such as limb deformities or severe osteoporosis. Interestingly‚ students with Albinism suffered more discrimination based on their physical appearance rather than their impaired vision.

“One of the most noteworthy results revealed that students with disabilities conversing over the phone‚ were treated normally‚ with callers none the wiser to their disability‚” Hutcheson adds‚ “However‚ once the person’s disability was revealed‚ 85% of PWDs (people with disabilities) faced a change in attitude towards them‚ ultimately resulting in discrimination and shame.”

 The significance of these findings can be linked to the apparent reluctance of South Africa’s public and private sector to consider PWDs as viable employees. Until businesses become confident enough to employ PWDs‚ the disabled community will still not be able to become contributing members of the labour force‚ Hutcheson says.

It explains: “As a result‚ according to research conducted by the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA)‚ 68% of adults living with disabilities have never looked for a job. However‚ I believe that through slow and steady integration of PWDs in the workforce‚ typical stereotypes such as all PWDs need special care‚ or are not as capable or smart as able-bodied people‚ can be eroded from our society’s thinking.”

Source: Sowetan http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/news/2015/06/19/more-than-half-of-disabled-believe-they-dont-have-equal-work-opportunities

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