Business Resources and Services from Disability Awareness Author / Speaker Gary Karp

What's Changed About Disability

Falling Obstacles, Expanding Possibilities

Actual, objective, and dramatic changes have taken place that have unleashed — and extended — the potential of workers with disabilities.


People with physical disabilities have the benefit of advanced, highly engineered, customized wheelchairs, which allow them independent control of their mobility. People who could not once spend the full day in the chair, are now able to. Your also are able to travel anywhere business needs them.


Having a disability is not the same as being ill. A disability is something to which one adapts. It is an integrated part of the person’s very identity. Being more active, supported by medical advances and a spirit of rehabilitation, people with disabilities are healthy in the context of their disabilities. Plenty of them are world-class athletes in the Paralympic Movement.


Children with disabilities are mainstreamed in public schools, and college campuses across the U.S. are widely accessible with Disabled Student Services centers to ensure their optimal education. More people with disabilities are earning advanced degrees than ever before — and that means they are thinking of careers. Real careers.


A wheelchair user was precluded from work simply because they couldn’t get in the door, or there was not a usable bathroom. Deaf phone callers have access to mandated relay services, blind users have tactile and aural cues to help them navigate their environments. In the process the Curb Cut effect has spread these benefits beyond disability access.


Disability advocates have achieved historic advances, from curb cuts to accessible bathrooms to civil rights protections that say it is not OK discriminate based on disability. Employers are also protected by disability law, as they partake of the ability to work made possible by this far more accessible and legally supported world.


Work is simply not about physical labor as much as it used to be. We live in an information society, and anyone who can drive a computer can contribute in the workplace. It doesn’t take hands or vision to work with desktop computing on par with any other employee. Assistive technologies are now widely available, affordable, powerful, and well tested and evolved.

  • Society needs time to catch up with dramatic change.A Little More
  • Stereotypes don't change easily.A Little More
  • The Modern Disability story is dramatic and clear.A Little More
  • To not understand these changes is to miss out.A Little More
  • Workplace culture needs to come up to speed.A Little More
  • The historic changes surrounding disabilities continue. Look for further gains in health and assistive technologies, as well as much needed gains in housing, transportation, and community-based services.

    The biggest change that still has a way to go – our very cultural beliefs about disability.


    If people are operating from the old beliefs, they will fail to recognize this untapped potential. The story needs to be told and embraced.
    People with disabilites are now fully available as employees and as consumers on a scale never seen before.
    The changes described here make the case very clearly.
    The changes are real, and so is the potential they unleash.
    Our assumptions literally create tracks in our brains! It takes some time and consideration – or the shock of clear truth – to change our thinking.
    Cultural beliefs are extremely deep seated. It's no surprise that people still view disability through old models.