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Month: October 2017

Linking arms makes us stronger

I developed a passion for writing at an early age. Due to my cerebral palsy, my speech is slurred making it difficult for most to understand what I say. However when I write, I can communicate without hindrance. People can understand my messages. This is extremely liberating to express my thoughts.

I believe that when I write about disability issues I’m able to challenge people’s perceptions of people with disability. I strongly believe that a great majority of peoples prejudice towards people with disability stems from ignorance.

I believe that when I write I’m removing some people’s misconceptions. Hopefully my writing provides people an insight of the experiences of people with disability.

I find writing about my experiences of having a disability liberating. I believe that for far too long people without a disability have written about us.

We have been the objects for people to research and write about, however in recent years there has been a paradigm shift. People are finally realising that we are experts of our own lives. Our voices are finally being heard and valued.

A key goal for Untapped is to create change, and one of the ways we do this is to join forces with others.

We like to share and support other organisations doing good things for people with a disability.  So from time to time, i will be introducing you to some of these organisations who share our goal and vision, and also help people with a disability to have a voice.

My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters is a fantastic service we have recently connected with, and we love to share information and support others. Untapped is very happy to share this service who provides valuable resources to people with disability, family members and people who have an interest in disability issues.

Visit My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters Club

Living with disability can be lonely and very challenging Are you a person living with disability? Are you a family member or carer of someone with a disability? Do you work in the disability services sector? The My Disability Matters Club has been created just for you Make new friends with people who understand you.

My Disability Matters believes that many people with disability are isolated and don’t have access to information that could enhance their lives. To provide a solution to this situation, My Disability Matters endeavors to address this by providing people with disability and their loved ones an online news, information and a social platform.

The My Disability Matters club (MDM Club)

The free social network offered by My Disability Matters is known as the MDM Club. The club provides people the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances.

Members of the club can have open discussions of disability issues. They are able to meet others touched by disability from across the globe and find peer support.

As a person with disability I know how useful it is to speak with other people in similar situations. We are able to share our experiences and to support each other. By conversing with others, it reduces our isolation. We learn that we are not the only ones who have encountered certain challenges caused by having a disability. This creates a sense of community for people with disability.

The MDM clubs offers online forums and they have specific club groups targeted for people who have similar interests.

The MDM club has a blog. People can hear stories from writers with a disability about their personal experiences. Writers also have a great opportunity to share their work. As a freelance writer with a disability, excitement fuelled my veins when I heard about this blog.

I believe that MDM are part of a social movement acting as an agent for social change. By sharing the stories of people with disability, society can view us as valuable citizens.

Platforms such as MDM and Untapped allow people with disability to have a voice. For too long our voices have been suppressed. It is empowering to know that not only our voices can be heard, our voices are valued. This provides us a beacon of hope.

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Job applicants with a disability at a disadvantage

‘To whom it may concern’.

I have written the above line to potential employers applying for a position countless times. I always mentioned in my applications that I have a disability. I rarely received the courtesy of a reply.

I often wonder whether this was due to the fact that I have a disability.

Whether they know it or not, employers are discriminating against job applicants who disclose they have a disability on their applications.

The article by May Bulman shows how job applicants with a disability are being discriminated against in the U.K., Bulman writes that research shows that people with disability have to apply for 60% more jobs than applicants without a disability.  Bulman wrote about a woman Lauren Pitt, 24, who has a vision disability and struggled to obtain employment. She was a university graduate with high marks. She didn’t expect finding a job would be as difficulty. It took her nine months to gain work. This was after she applied for 250 positions which led to only a few interviews.

This is similar to my situation.

When I graduated from uni I applied for multitudes of jobs over the course of a few years. From the many job applications I only had two call-backs for an interview. I sought professional help in writing my applications. I believed I had the essential requirements for the job. When I applied for countless positions without receiving a response, I was extremely despondent. I felt like an utter failure.

I had yet to discover that many people with disability have the same experience.

A Journalist Ashitha Nagesh writes of another case in the U.K., where university graduate Daryl Jones applied for 400 job vacancies receiving no response. When he took out all references of his disability off his CV, he was soon contacted to attended job interviews.

Mathew Townsend, a man from Brisbane with a hearing disability, who struggles to find work. He is equipped with two university degrees. He has completed an internship with Telstra and has presented papers at three conferences. One would assume from his credentials he would be an excellent employee. However he cannot obtain employment after applying for many positions.

Read the article here

Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before finding one

Disabled people need to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before they find work, new research shows. An Opinium survey of 2,000 disabled people also found that more than half (51 per cent) of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69 per cent for non-disabled applicants.

Research shows the cases above aren’t isolated.

Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research  USA wanted to determine how people’s disability affects their chances of being considered for employment. The researchers submitted 6,016 false applications to positions at accounting firms. One third of the applicants mentioned having Asperger’s Syndrome, another third disclosed a spinal cord injury in their applications.  The remaining third of applicants did not disclose any disability. The results showed applicants without disabilities were 26% more likely to get an expression of interest from an employer than the applicants who disclosed a disability.

Jean-François Ravaud, Béatrice Madiot and Isabelle Ville conducted a similar study to determine whether job applicants with a disability were disadvantaged. Some applicants claimed to have a disability while others didn’t. The study found that the candidates without a disability were more likely to receive a favorable response than those with a disability.

Research conducted by Vision Australia found that 53% of the job-seekers who are blind or have low vision will give up looking for employment because they are too disheartened.

One of the main reasons why candidates with a disability are unsuccessful is due to an employer’s attitudes toward people with disability.

The situation may appear bleak for job applicants with a disability. However, I strongly believe there are actions to be taken to improve it.

We need to educate employers so when they see the term disability on a job application, they will not be instilled with fear. On the contrary when they see an suitable applicant who has a disability they will think potential.

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