Opening Doors to Opportunity

Today, the New York Times featured an article on a mother with A.L.S., also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. She uses of an Apple iPhone running inexpensive text-to-speech software to not only “give her voice” but allows her to “wear her voice” around her neck while caring for her 5-year-old son who has Down syndrome.

While the article focuses attention on the policies of insurance providers which require more expensive, dedicated, propriety devices that do less – the story is a reminder of how simply many disabilities can be accommodated. For the millions of Americans with speech-impairing conditions, an everyday device can make communication possible.

To us, the article is a reminder of how simple accommodations can provide opportunity for the millions of Americans with disabilities excluded from the workplace.  Many employers mistakenly maintain that is difficult or costly to provide accommodations to workers with disabilities. In fact, research shows that 73% of employers report that their employees with disabilities do not require accommodations, and of those that do, the majority found the cost of the accommodation was only $500 or less.

Industry reports consistently rate employees with disabilities as on track or above average in performance, safety, and attendance. And, when it comes to retaining employees and reducing turnover costs, research has found that employees with disabilities tend to have higher retention rates when compared to employees without disabilities.

The New York Times article demonstrates how everyday devices can overcome obstacles and lead to increased independence. At PRIDE,  a leading employer of people with disabilities, we understand how simple accommodations and re-examining myths can open doors and create opportunity.