Workers with Disabilities
Work takes on increased meaning for people who have physical disabilities ( Vash, 1981). Such individuals are generally viewed as not being capable employees when emphasis is put on physical abilities. Indeed, some employers believe that individuals with disabilities are less than normal. These employers are likely to recall a negative stereotype of physically disabled people and consequently expect less of their own workers with disabilities. They also often believe that individuals with disabilities should expect less of themselves. Thus, they are not surprised when an individual with a disability is unable to get a job. From a societal perspective, work: (1) is a source of self-respect, a way of achieving recognition or respect from others; (2) defines a person's identity, his or her role in society; (3) provides the opportunity for association with other people for building friendships; (4) allows for self-expression and provides the opportunity for creativity and new experiences; and (5) permits people to be of service to others. Work is a basic ingredient in modern culture; most people organize their lives around their occupations. Grave psychologic disturbances can result when individuals with disabilities who are able to work are barred from participating in this most important societal activity ( Eisenberg, Griggins & Duval, 1982). When individuals are unable to find or keep a job because of prejudices about their disabilities, physical disability becomes a handicap. The work capabilities of most people with physical disabilities have been demonstrated many times. Indeed, there are several factors more important than physical prowess for the performance of most jobs.