Like many parents of children with disabilities I have concerns around what the future will hold for my 2 boys with ASD and learning difficulties. In the world we live in the capacity to earn is key in respect of retaining independence and invaluable in respect of personal development.
Sadly, the current prospects for the disabled community are far below what we as parents of disabled children and members of wider society should accept. According to a briefing paper published on 17/05/19 from the House of Commons Library the rate of economic inactivity for the disabled community as a whole was 43.8% compared with 15.6% for those without disability.
Certainly, some disabilities restrict working capacity but as a whole this gap is due to the difficulty the disabled have in accessing effective and rewarding employment. More specifically we see a postcode lottery coming into play with 59% of disabled people employed in the South East and only 35.7% (barely a third) economically active in Northern Ireland.
On a positive note there is legislation and a number of incentives to mitigate this problem. For instance Remploy the recruitment consultancy for the disabled has an accreditation scheme and a presence throughout the country. Also many companies these days do have policies to actively promote an inclusive workforce.
Overall however, this trend will need to radically change in order for us to feel assured. Therefore a coordinated approach will likely be needed linking all sectors and agencies together. The easier and more accessible the services are the more people they will reach and the the more lives they will transform.
This online Hub as a one stop shop hopes to form even a small part of this required change. As it would be something anyone can access about anything disability related from the comfort of their own home.