Physically Disabled Find Open Opportunities on the Internet

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha AlvarezLeave a Comment

The beauty of the internet is that it doesn’t see a wheelchair, scooter, crutch, cane, or any other mobility aid. It doesn’t care whether you can speak, hear, touch, feel, or see because there is enough software out there to disguise these disabilities without having the users feel like outcasts.

The internet has done what no other government agency or organization in the world has ever been able to accomplish no matter how many telethons or sad commercials or multimillion dollar programs they conceive. The internet has given the people with physical disabilities empowerment with dignity.

Information is only a few keystrokes away. Companies that don’t provide physical access into their establishments are no longer a problem. Simply look up the address of the company’s headquarters and email them. If that doesn’t work file a complaint online with the ADA. The way I see it, when one internet window closes another one opens.

Unfortunately, with all of the technology in the world there are still major transportation and access issues for people with physical disabilities around the world. Thankfully, the internet also allows a new venue for people with disabilities to socially connect with other physically disabled and non- physically disabled people from around the world and right around the corner.

Several physically disabled people have found that the internet has given them more of a cloak and dagger feel to their virtual world. They can discuss politics, movies, religion and even sex with people who are not even physically disabled and the wonderful part for them is that it is at their discretion whether they choose to unveil their disability to the other people in the conversations.

“I don’t have to tell people on the internet that I use an electric wheelchair because they don’t have to tell me that they are sitting in front of the computer in their underwear. It’s an exchange of ideas: a real conversation,” said Sarah, a paraplegic from California.

They have also found their cyber office from prejudices and discrimination because the boss doesn’t necessarily have to know that the person is physically disabled. As long as the person can perform the job then that’s all that really matters.

“Working from home on my laptop is the best! I don’t have the hassles of transportation, access to the office and wearing tacky uniforms. I get paid to do what I love and for once my disability is not the issue. Shoot! My boss doesn’t even know that I am disabled,” said Richard who lives with Cerebral Palsy in Georgia.

While the positive factors probably outnumber any negative factors, there is still cause for concern. Some people with physical disabilities have become more introverted than ever before from real one on one personal interaction. Perhaps this has caused much of the stagnant movement among people with physical disabilities to continue to champion for equal rights and access to public places.

While the virtual world should be a place for many forms of entertainment, education, and employment, it shouldn’t completely replace the real world. Websites like Secondlife.com are great for a momentary escape from the real world but there are some people who have found they can’t tear themselves away from these virtual worlds.

Angela with multiple sclerosis wrote to Audacitymagazine.com:

“I read your article about Secondlife.com. I joined it and I love it. My disease has taken away much of my pleasures. On secondlife.com I feel sexy, alive and vibrant. Men talk to me the way they did before MS took my body. I never want to leave this virtual world. I built a home, took on two jobs as a dancer in their nightclubs and party with my online friends.

They don’t know I am disabled and I have no intentions of ruining the fun.”

There’s a fine line in the cyberworld between what’s real and not real. If I could rename the internet I would rename it “The Twilight Zone”.

How has the internet helped you as a person with a physical disability? Let us know.
Email us at nathasha@audacitymagazine.com .

The beauty of the internet is that it doesn’t see a wheelchair, scooter, crutch, cane, or any other mobility aid. It doesn’t care whether you can speak, hear, touch, feel, or see because there is enough software out there to disguise these disabilities without having the users feel like outcasts.

The internet has done what no other government agency or organization in the world has ever been able to accomplish no matter how many telethons or sad commercials or multimillion dollar programs they conceive. The internet has given the people with physical disabilities empowerment with dignity.

Information is only a few keystrokes away. Companies that don’t provide physical access into their establishments are no longer a problem. Simply look up the address of the company’s headquarters and email them. If that doesn’t work file a complaint online with the ADA. The way I see it, when one internet window closes another one opens.

Unfortunately, with all of the technology in the world there are still major transportation and access issues for people with physical disabilities around the world. Thankfully, the internet also allows a new venue for people with disabilities to socially connect with other physically disabled and non- physically disabled people from around the world and right around the corner.

Several physically disabled people have found that the internet has given them more of a cloak and dagger feel to their virtual world. They can discuss politics, movies, religion and even sex with people who are not even physically disabled and the wonderful part for them is that it is at their discretion whether they choose to unveil their disability to the other people in the conversations.

“I don’t have to tell people on the internet that I use an electric wheelchair because they don’t have to tell me that they are sitting in front of the computer in their underwear. It’s an exchange of ideas: a real conversation,” said Sarah, a paraplegic from California.

They have also found their cyber office from prejudices and discrimination because the boss doesn’t necessarily have to know that the person is physically disabled. As long as the person can perform the job then that’s all that really matters.

“Working from home on my laptop is the best! I don’t have the hassles of transportation, access to the office and wearing tacky uniforms. I get paid to do what I love and for once my disability is not the issue. Shoot! My boss doesn’t even know that I am disabled,” said Richard who lives with Cerebral Palsy in Georgia.

While the positive factors probably outnumber any negative factors, there is still cause for concern. Some people with physical disabilities have become more introverted than ever before from real one on one personal interaction. Perhaps this has caused much of the stagnant movement among people with physical disabilities to continue to champion for equal rights and access to public places.

While the virtual world should be a place for many forms of entertainment, education, and employment, it shouldn’t completely replace the real world. Websites like Secondlife.com are great for a momentary escape from the real world but there are some people who have found they can’t tear themselves away from these virtual worlds.

Angela with multiple sclerosis wrote to Audacitymagazine.com:

“I read your article about Secondlife.com. I joined it and I love it. My disease has taken away much of my pleasures. On secondlife.com I feel sexy, alive and vibrant. Men talk to me the way they did before MS took my body. I never want to leave this virtual world. I built a home, took on two jobs as a dancer in their nightclubs and party with my online friends. They don’t know I am disabled and I have no intentions of ruining the fun.”

There’s a fine line in the cyberworld between what’s real and not real. If I could rename the internet I would rename it “The Twilight Zone”.

How has the internet helped you as a person with a physical disability? Let us know.
Email us at nathasha@audacitymagazine.com .