When you have a disability and are looking for a job, you may automatically limit yourself by focusing more on your disability than your abilities. This is a mistake. Whether you have had a disability all your life or have become disabled, it's always smart to focus on your knowledge, skills and abilities when looking for work.
These days, there are many jobs that can be performed by people with a wide variety of disabilities and abilities. In this article, we list some of the best jobs for people with disabilities and provide smart tips and advice to help you find your match employment match. Read on to learn more.
Don’t Limit Your Job Search
In the developed world, most workplaces are required to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities. For this reason, you should not limit yourself to applying to places that are already accessible to your disability.
If you can show that you can do the job with reasonable accommodation, your potential employer cannot discriminate against you by refusing the job. Most businesses and workplaces can easily apply for grants, funding and/or tax breaks to help them make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities.
Decide Where You Want to Work
These days with the rise of the Internet and the challenge of the pandemic, more and more work from home opportunities are available for people across the board. With a little creative thinking and a positive attitude, you might very easily establish yourself in areas such as:
Jobs that rely heavily on computer work are easily done by people with all sorts of disabilities. Keep in mind that people who are deaf or blind can make use of the many communication aids that are standard to modern computers and other devices. Additionally, people living with emotional disabilities such as autism, Asperger's and the like can do quite well simply working from home and avoiding the need for personal interaction.
People with disabilities whether physical, developmental, emotional or otherwise can be and often are just as artistic as anyone else. These days with the many possibilities for communication and sales available on line, a person who has artistic, photographic or other creative skills can do quite well selling products, providing instruction on how to create and the like.
Other freelance opportunities include creating artwork, photography or content for websites. You might also create your own website, provide your own information, produce YouTube videos like this one!
4 Accessible Jobs That Provide Home or Office Flexibility
There are also many potentially accessible jobs that can be done at home, in the workplace or a combination of the two.
1. Call-center customer service: This type of work is fairly easy to find, and can be done from a call center or from home. If you have basic computer skills, pleasant personality and a desire to help, you can be a good customer service rep. Most companies provide equipment and training necessary to handle the specific challenges you will face.
2. Tax preparation, bookkeeping and accounting: If you're good with numbers and have experience and training in bookkeeping and accounting, there is no reason why you cannot have this sort of job. Tax prep services, such as H&R Block offer free training in becoming a tax preparer. [https://www.hrblock.com/corporate/income-tax-course/] Tax prep, accounting and bookkeeping are tasks that you can do in an accessible office setting or from home.
3. Counseling: There are all sorts of opportunities to work as a counselor and many different opportunities for online and in-person training. From one-on-one personal or crisis counseling to guidance counseling or vocational counseling, if you like to work with people and are good listener, you should have no problem finding your niche. You can provide counseling from home or in settings ranging from schools to offices to hospitals to doctors’ offices and more.
Volunteer: One excellent way to gain job skills and make connections in your community that will help you to find a suitable job is to simply volunteer. Look for volunteer opportunities around you that will make good use of your existing knowledge skills and abilities and will help you to create more.
TIP: If you are interested in exploring counseling but don’t know where to begin, volunteering for services such as crisis, suicide prevention and other help lines and hotlines can be a good way to start.
If you have become disabled due to an accident or illness, you may feel discouraged that your life plans have changed. When this is the case, you can often re-map your course by identifying small steps you can take that will help you follow your dreams as you move you forward incrementally. For example, becoming an assistant can be a way of getting a start in the field of your choosing without a lengthy investment of time and money to obtain a Bachelors' or Masters' degree.
Identify Your Resources & Explore Training
Here are three examples of assistant positions that can act as a stepping stone to a future career.
- 1Medical administration assistant: Hospitals and medical offices are wheelchair accessible across the board. As a medical administration assistance, you would take care of tasks such as managing paperwork, answering phones, organizing files, booking appointments and more. All of these are tasks that you can easily do from your wheelchair. Online certificate programs can be completed in under a year.
- 2Legal assistant: Becoming a paralegal, legal secretary or legal assistant is a fairly simple matter that requires passing a certificate course and/or obtaining an Associates’ degree. As a legal assistant, you would help a lawyer to gather information, prepare briefs, manage files and take care of general office work. Online legal assistant certificate courses can be completed in as little as three months.
- 3Pharmacy assistant or technician. For this job, you would work in a pharmacy helping the pharmacist with necessary tasks and dealing directly with the general public. You might need to provide some counseling in regards to the use of certain drugs. In this case, depending upon your disability, you may be at an advantage. Online training can be completed in under a year.
We've discussed possible jobs for people with physical disabilities, but what about those who are physically able but have developmental disabilities or communication challenges such as Specific Language Impairment (SLI)? There are actually many types of jobs that are very suitable for these folks.
Here are just a few.
1. Service jobs: Very often helping jobs in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities create a perfect match for people with developmental disabilities. With the right training, these folks make excellent hospital cafeteria workers, aides in assisted-living and hospital settings and similar jobs.
2. Agricultural workers: Greenhouse work, gardening and landscaping offer potential for folks who are able-bodied and capable of taking on tasks such as planting, raking, weeding and general yard work.
3. Clerical work: Depending upon the level of developmental disability, tasks such as typing, filing, sorting and distributing the mail and so forth may be perfect for people with developmental disabilities and/or communication challenges.
4. Assembly line work: Folks who are able to stay in one place and perform routine, repetitive tasks without becoming frustrated may be perfectly happy performing assembly-line work. Many people with SLI can do quite well performing repetitive tasks in an environment that does not require a great deal of communication.
5. Warehouse work: People with developmental disabilities and/or SLI can do quite well at repetitive warehouse tasks that don't require a great deal of interaction with coworkers or customers. Other possibilities for this type of work include packaging items and preparing them to be shipped.
6. Retail store hospitality: People with developmental disabilities who are outgoing, sociable and polite may enjoy being store greeters or helping to locate merchandise for customers. Many retailers including:
…provide specialized training to help people with developmental disabilities learn how to perform these tasks. Additionally, they may learn skills such as stocking shelves, running a cash register, bagging items and managing workplace stress.
7. Gas station and convenience store work: This type of work used to be handled almost exclusively by college students and the like who tended to view the work as temporary. These days, however, gas station and convenience store owners are realizing that people with mild developmental disability may be better candidates for this type of work. These folks tend to be enthusiastic about the work and loyal to the companies for which they work, staying with the job and continuing to enjoy the challenges it offers.
8. Government work: The United States government is a very large employer. In fact more than twenty-two million people work for the US government, which is dedicated to the affirmative action policies that facilitate hiring people with both physical and developmental disabilities.
Working for the government means good training, a decent wage and good healthcare benefits. Many people with developmental disabilities and physical disabilities find work through the Veterans Health Administration as:
9. Nonprofit work: Like the federal government, nonprofit organizations are committed to providing a certain amount of affirmative action employment. One example is Goodwill industries. This and similar organizations also offer free training both online and in person to help people with developmental the disabilities learn basic work skills and find jobs.
10. Computer assembly: People who have trouble relating to others may do quite well in jobs such as computer repair and assembly which tend to be rather isolated. This type of work allows the worker to focus on the task at hand without having to face the challenge of a great deal of interaction or interruption. Training for this sort of work can be completed online.
11. Kitchen and culinary work: Institutional kitchens or kitchens that are found in major restaurants are usually very well structured and well run. This can be a good setting for an able bodied adult with developmental disabilities.
12. Restaurant, Hospitality and hotel work: People with developmental disabilities can do quite well performing support tasks such as clearing tables, washing dishes and taking care of building maintenance and janitorial services.
13. Animal care: Very frequently people with autism, Down syndrome and other types of developmental disabilities are especially well suited to working with animals. These folks may truly enjoy and excel at kennel work, animal feeding, grooming, walking and care.
People with disabilities that would prevent them from working in the public sector can still find meaningful work.
Sheltered workshops are especially established nonprofit organizations that provide specific jobs for people with developmental disabilities. These are good settings for people who would not be able to cope in a standard retail or other public setting but would do well when working with their peers in a lower stress environment. This type of environment can also provide training and experience that can lead to more and greater employment opportunities.