Tom Shakespeare

Thanks Xanthe and Emma and everyone for their comments.

I was lucky enough to chair a workshop last week for HI and the Disability Evidence Portal (disabilityevidence.org), where we heard a range of perspectives on the role of quotas, training schemes, supported employment, OPDs/DPOs and the CRPD.  A recording of the two day event, and all the presentations, are available on ICED website at LSHTM.

My main conclusion is that increasing disability employment is complex.  We need a range of strategies.  Settings are different, and impairments are diverse.   I worry that some advocates see disability rights as the panacea.  But we know that the ADA actually was followed by a reduction in employment of people with disabilities in USA.  So it’s a mixed picture, and there can be counter-intuitive outcomes.

I also worry that most persons with disabilities have acquired their impairment in mid to late life.  We focus a lot on opportunities for young disabled people, but we sometimes neglect job retention and retraining for  people who become disabled in mid-life.

I am interested in all ideas.  It used to be that the dominant ideas in disability employment were either sheltered workshops or the employment quota.  Now the CRPD is seen as having great promise.  I am very glad to see the evidence reviews that Xanthe mentioned, and that we are trying to promote at ICED and the Disability Evidence Portal, because we need to know what works, and what is the equivalent of snake oil.  But above all, I think we need more research in the field of disability employment.