A Candid Conversation on Disability Issues

Recently, for a podcast sponsored by Griffin-Hammis Associates, Cary Griffin and I had a discussion about many facets of our service system. We talked about the resistance to change of sheltered work agencies, the needless persistence of sub-minimum wage, concerns we had about generalized employment training programs being developed for people with autism, flawed social [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:10-04:00December 13th, 2011|employment first, segregation, sheltered workshops|0 Comments

The 80-20 Rule and A Call to Freeze Referrals to Sheltered Work

The Pareto Principle is a well known economic theory that can be applied to a lot of situations. It goes something like this: about 80% of effectiveness is driven by just 20% of our activity. This distribution has also been found to relate to how a small number of people control 80% of the wealth. [...]

Discarding An Old Narrative: Shine a Light on Indignity

Some 30 years ago, some new and innovative approaches were developed to help people with disabilities lead better lives. They involved ideas such as normalization, social inclusion, individualized planning, and supported employment and supported living. These concepts were all based on focusing on the individual and not the disability, and each brought new ways of [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:11-04:00October 20th, 2011|conversion, segregation, sheltered workshops|3 Comments

Engineered Employment: An Inadequate Solution for Adult Joblessness and Student Transition

Dale, come see our great recycling program! Check out our cleaning crew! We run a bakery that our special ed students all work at!Over the past 30 plus years of providing consultation and training to agencies and schools on the employment of people with disabilities, I have visited employment programs in 49 states and evaluated [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:12-04:00September 22nd, 2011|employability, school to work, segregation, social enterprise|6 Comments

What do People with Disabilities Want for Employment Services?

The statements below are from a white paper produced from a March, 2011 Summit by leaders from the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the National Youth Leadership Network, Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered, and allies. Including not only Summit proceedings, but a broad range of interviews besides, the authors "…believe that this report and the process that led [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:26:09-04:00September 13th, 2011|segregation supported employment|0 Comments

Pennies for Pay Must End

Recently, the Green Bay Press Gazette featured an article that reviewed the ongoing debate over the use of subminimum wages for people with disabilities. The publication found over 10,000 Wisconsin citizens with disabilities earn less than minimum wage, ranging as low as 2 cents per hour. The article also reviews a local sheltered workshop where 96% [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:13-04:00August 25th, 2011|minimum wage|1 Comment

On Simulated Communities for People with Disabilities: From Agency Businesses to Gated Disability Neighborhoods

Ah, vacation. I am sitting on a porch in a house in the Great Smoky Mountains, altitude about 4,000 feet, in just about near-perfect weather. My family and friends have enjoyed great food, good company, music, hiking and other pleasures. It makes me consider the nature and value of community. In the disability field, we [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:26:11-04:00July 3rd, 2011|residential, social enterprise|0 Comments

Employment First: A Promising Hope, but at Risk of Being Watered Down

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at two statewide disability employment conferences, one in New York and one in Minnesota. These events focused on "Employment First." This concept refers to having employment be the primary expected goal for working-age adults with disabilities in government-funded day services, and for those services to support that [...]

By |2017-05-18T15:43:13-04:00May 24th, 2011|segregation supported employment|1 Comment

Thoughts on Employment First: Don’t Water it Down!

Employment First refers to a relatively new movement to change public policy for individuals with disabilities who receive publicly funded day services. Employment First begins as an effort to change the expectations people have about the ability of people with disabilities to work – in policy, in practice, and in person. It refers to having [...]

Restrict Choice? You Bet!

Numerous recent comments sent to the US Administration on Developmental Disabilities from the "Voice of the Retarded" have centered on maintaining a range of choice as the main argument against the desegregation of institutions into the community. See (http://www.envision2010.net/others.php) Institutional and sheltered work advocates have long relied on the "choice" argument to support their views. [...]

By |2015-04-02T15:26:14-04:00February 25th, 2011|choice, institutions|2 Comments
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