Today is World Autism Awareness Day, the rates for those with Autism is getting higher and higher. And in this post, I wanted to talk about me having Autism (Asperger’s Syndrome), while living in Alabama. Well, let’s begin with not so good news. From this AL.com article, according to RespectAbility, 5,531 people with disabilities in Alabama lost jobs in 2016. According to the group, there are 421,135 working-age people with disabilities living in Alabama between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2016, and only 115,799 of them had jobs. Alabama has a 27.5 percent employment rate for its people with disabilities. Alabama ranks 49th among states employing people with disabilities, not good at all.
Also according to AL.com, Alabama is the number one state for those who claim a disability with 31.5 percent having a disability. That’s a lot of people, and I feel like those with Autism, like myself, feels like outsiders in this state. I mean, we have people who think those with Autism are just faking it. We have those who think anyone on Social Security Disability, food stamps, and other welfare programs is just plain lazy and needs to get off their butts. We have those who hide behind fake names on the internet and criticize those with a disability. Man all the attacks I get from people on the internet is horrible. @Nvyoung is my Twitter handle.
The thing is we have certain people, and it seems like those people are the ones with the most power, like politicians, who just plain believe those with Autism or other disabilities are just plain lazy and bad people and should always be treated as a second-class citizen. For example, during the 2016 legislative session we had several legislators try to prevent an Autism insurance bill from passing because of money and greed. And in Alabama, services for those with Autism and other disabilities are severely lacking. Here in East Alabama where I live, there is only one organization to help those with disabilities, and the only help they give you after a short three-week stint there was handing you a paper with job listings, and they say “good luck!” No help for filling out applications, no help if you have an interview, nothing! And after over 1,800 rejections since 2011, nothing as well.
So then you ask, why not Vocational Rehabilitation? Well, I have tried that too! And hardly anything happened their as well. In fact they pretty much ignored me after repeated contacts to the main office in Montgomery because of the lack of service. I have been different through my entire life, and sadly the schools I attended where hardly any help as well. So as of today, I am on Social Security Disability (SSI) and on Food Stamps / SNAP. Hey, it’s something as they say! But, as you know there are certain people in power who thinks people like me are somehow lazy bums, and those in the federal government wants to harm people like me. It should not be like that! For example, there are proposals for major cuts to SNAP, including a stupid idea for a harvest box, and cuts for certain people getting other welfare, like myself. How do I live if I lose food stamps and/or SSI? Does someone just say here is your home under a bridge?
Yes, some things have happened for those with disabilities in Alabama. The governor did a disability job fair in Birmingham last October, and I went to it with no success. Alabama has got a LONG WAY to go to make sure all with disabilities can prosper and live a fulfilling life. For starters, there needs to be better services for those with Autism and other disabilities. Services barely exist in parts of Alabama like here in the Anniston / Oxford area. And as for job placements, the state or organizations can do a better job of finding and placing those with disabilities in a job they can succeed in. I have done 14 jobs in the past, and I have failed all fast-paced, restaurant, and outdoor jobs (can not deal with Summer heat and humidity) in tremendous fashion. Don’t just place a person with a disability in a job and say “good luck.” That will be just failure. A person with a disability must be placed in a job they can do successfully.
Second, it seems like we have several people in power who are determined to screw anyone with a disability. Let’s cut Medicaid to nothing. Let’s cut mental health to nothing. Let’s cut food stamps to nothing. And let’s fill our prisons because it means a profit for some, like Sheriffs who use food money for themselves. How about this instead? How about we make sure those with disabilities gets the medical care they need, the mental health services they need, and the services they need to live a good life. And yes, that might mean we might have to reform and raise some taxes. OH MY GOD! I terrified some people who thinks all taxes are evil. Taxes are there for a reason. Alabama’s current tax structure screws the poor and those with disabilities and benefits the people who are well-off, this really needs to change!
And third, people need to learn to treat those with any disability with respect. Many people already do that, and that’s a great thing! But, we have some people out there who don’t give a crap to anyone with a disability, and will mistreat and name-call those with disabilities. Anyone with a disability is not a lazy person who can’t do anything and sits on their butt all day long. I have Autism, and I run a nationally recognized blog called Geek Alabama. And I do great writing, photo, and video coverage! It’s too bad no one wants to take me on and hire me. And everyone with a disability has a great talent, and they need to let their talents shine! How about the state or organizations recognize those with great talents and also has a disability. For example, other than the media work I can do, I also draw roads!
The sad truth is, having an disability in Alabama means a very tough life for many. Many people in power in Alabama pretty much don’t give a crap about anyone with a disability, and are determined to make those living with a disability in Alabama live a miserable and bad life. There needs to be a major attitude adjustment to the way some people in Alabama treat those with a disability. Those with a disability like myself are great and caring people who just want to live a fulfilling livelihood. Alabama is sadly known in being last in just about everything. How about those in power in Alabama do something different so we quit being last? Alabama can be a beckon state for anyone who has a disability, but it will take people like you and me voting for different people at the ballot box. It can be done, but sadly I don’t think it will ever happen.
Categories: Personal Life Stuff