National Disability Awareness Month: Were We Really Aware?

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Rosemarie Rossetti

October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Since I’m disabled, you’d think I was pretty excited about this occasion. Not really.

Although the concept is admirable, its impact seems weak. Not many people, disabled and non-disabled, know about NDEAM.

The media doesn’t place enough quality emphasis on Disability Awareness. During last month, you probably saw news features in which a reporter used a wheelchair for a day and usually encounters architectural obstacles, such as narrowed doorways and high sidewalks.

Yet, this scene is getting quite old, especially since most of these physical barriers have been corrected thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The reporter’s inexperience at maneuvering makes being in a wheelchair harder than it actually is.

What would be an ideal news feature is a five-part series on disabled individuals, covering the major aspects of their lives.

The series would show daily struggles as well as how the persons overcome them. It would focus on how normal a life someone can have despite a disability, how he or she works, plays, and maintains relationships.

In short, the report would illustrate how one’s abilities overshadow his or her disability.

Of course, the news report would feature associates of TecAccess, the information technology company that Paul Spicer wrote about in last month’s AudacityMagazine.

We’re the epitome of NDEAM’s mission. We are persons with disabilities who are productive and successful at what we do: help make information technology accessible and usable for everyone, including those like us at TecAccess.

We are dedicated and hard working. Even though most of us could sit back at home and just receive disability benefits, we work out of our homes and earn well-deserved income.

Currently, 65% of working-age Americans with disabilities are unemployed. If business executives saw the news feature, maybe that rate would drop. They’d realize that hiring a qualified person with a disability would save them in turnover expenses.

Not only would more companies discover that employees who are disabled usually are loyal to their jobs, they’d also learn they are more diligent and motivated than their non-disabled colleagues.

They’d see what adaptive office equipment some disabled employees would need and realize this would be a sound investment.

Employers would also discover that hiring persons with disabilities is one of the wisest decisions they’d ever make.

What have you experienced out in the working world? Let us hear your story. Email us at or speak up at the Online Forum.