I am generally dissatisfied with the manner in which disability is handled in whatever society though that does not necessarily represent a deliberate effort to take less notice of disability per se. Such disparities manifest themselves in different ways such as the language that is spoken in the society and/or the facilities and assumptions that everyone automatically makes when he/she comes across a handicap/disabled person. Some of the words used to refer to disabled people are derogatory but more often than not is their tendency to emphasize the disability and thus create a certain mental image of someone who is less than he/she ought to be.
In the about section of this blog, I have proclaimed my pride in being handicap/disabled (the specific term does not mean that much to me as an individual handicap/disabled person) person. Today it occurred to me that I have not spent some thoughts in pointing out the advantages of a disability. For the sake of this post, a disability must be a condition to which there are currently no effective cure and specifically physical disability though some of the points that may be brought up can be extrapolated to cover other kinds of disability.
Living with a disability goes beyond the physical manifestation of the handicap since that manifestation will heavily influence how the person concern views life and goes on to live it. In a sense, the fact that a person is disabled means that they need to learn some life skills which are either taken for granted by the normal people who are on the whole irrelevant to them.
Planning & Strategizing
As a physically handicap person, the simplest thing that you can possibly go out of your way to carry out would require planning as there is need to make sure that everything is setup in such a manner as to ensure the success of the mission/task. For example, I have found myself looking for that extra information about the building where I am going (if I have never been there before) because it is important that I know before hand if the building is storied and if so if there are any lifts or stairs. In case there are stairs, then it becomes necessary to establish if there are handrails so that I am able to get to my destination. Of course in the middle of all these considerations, a key point remains what floor my destination is located. The details of the plan is developed for each new trip/mission/task will depend on the kind of disability.
The process of planning any new is accompanied with a desire to ensure that resources such as time and effort are used efficiently. So time and resources are planned to yield the highest possible return. I must admit that this does not always happen but for a handicap person maximizing the returns on any effort expended is always a priority.
One of the things that handicap people in general are forced to confront is developing solutions that works for their particular situations. As a general rule that enables a better understanding of problems in any given situation and the accompanying effort required to ensure success. I generally avoid exposure to any buildings that are storied and lack stair cases but when I joined university, I had to figure out a way of scaling stairs with two crutches and a caliper. The solution to this particular problem had to assume both the presence of a good Samaritan at the base or top of the stair or the likely possibility that I will find myself alone. The solution I had come up with both addresses these problems but I also had to adjust the rest of my approach to attending classes; of particular interest is carrying back packs as these would increase the load that needed to be moved between floors.
The important skills learnt here as a result of living a handicap life is identifying a problem and defining it so as to develop solutions that address the problem adequately. Of particular interest is that there is a need to ensure a balance between the capabilities of the solution provider and the desired outcome. As in the aforementioned example, the first objective was to ensure that the handicap person retains as much independence as much as possible while solving the particular problem at hand. In any given business environment it would be particularly advantageous to have people who can solve problems within the confines of limited budget and resources. As mentioned in the above example, the solution to the stair case problem retains long term strategic relevance so the ability evaluate the effects on any given choice is much more heightened for a handicap person.
A disabled person is already limited in one way or the other so he/she would need to depend on someone for support so it is in his/her lifestyle to know when to give control to more capable people. All organizations and employers are interested in team players and more so in team players who can recognize their own weaknesses and strengths and as such bring the whole team together as one continuous group that complement each other towards a common goal. Disability forces a person to see himself/herself in terms of his strengths which are essentially what comprises his/her identity as well as weaknesses which threaten the success of his/her efforts.
It is also important to point out that there are disabled people who may possess the potential for leadership. Leadership combined with a disposition towards team spirit can lead to a high performing group. A leader who is predisposed to engage the team will make decisions that are both beneficial to the team as well as delegate jobs and responsibilities to those who will have the most appropriate skills to bring the most return.
It goes without saying that dealing with organizations, there are other factors beyond the possession of leadership skills as well as a disposition to foster team spirit. Someone with leadership qualities would be much better placed to adapt to any new demands as and when they occur. For handicap persons, anticipating change and trying to account for it before it happens is almost second nature.
Organization & Patience
As a physically handicap person, there are things that will require more effort to accomplish hence the desire and push to plan and organize more is geared towards ensuring that when the first step is taken then every possible problem has been identified and contingency plans hinted at or at the very least put at an advanced state.
In my life, there are instance in which I detect a certain level of impatience with me with regard to this but the benefits one reaps in the long run as a result of planning and organizing before implementation is whole the slow start or the apparent lack of progress in the initial stages.
The ability to plan and organize leads to an interesting outcome as well in a sense that you are not hurried in whatever you choose to under take since there may be multiple pieces to the same puzzle and each of them will come into play at different times. So you wait for everything to fall into place and plans progress towards and objective.
Related to organization and patience is intolerance towards actions or activities that seemingly waste time and effort. Such intolerance can be well founded since planning and organization will inevitably lead to justifying the task at hand and examining more cost effective avenues of reaching the same goals. The end result of such a process is that whatever effort is put in place is always justifiable and as such would require all possible focus to ensure its success. It is not a perfect process and may not work that well in new situations but the intention is always to look for a chance and opportunity to do it much better and using much less effort to accomplish.
While a disability forces a different view of life out of necessity, the different perspective does have advantages which become both heighten and developed in handicap people. The aforementioned qualities are not certainly limited to handicap people but their lifestyle makes them important qualities to have and practice and as such they have been constantly and regularly fine tuned. Handicap people are human being as well and the aforementioned list may not be applicable to them all and it is entirely possible that some of them are not even aware that they exercise such qualities in their lives.