You could suffer a disabling injury from many kinds of accidents, such as a car accident, equipment accident at work, or even a random slip and fall on wet or icy pavement. Your disability could be as “simple” as losing the functionality in your dominant hand or as severe as paralysis. Not only do you have to adjust to the startling reality of your new life, but you may also have to figure out a way to continue to support yourself if you are unable to do the same type of work that you once did.
Fortunately, many people with disabling injuries will still be able to maintain their career with some adjustments to how they perform the work. They just need the right tools. Here’s how they can do it:
Work from Home
Thanks to all the mobile technology that we have, people with disabilities that limit their movement can now continue to work from home. In some cases, they can do the same job they did before except at home, and in other cases, they can either modify the work they did or pursue another line of work related to what they like.
For example, if a person was working in finance before, they can continue to do the same trades and consultations that they did before by using a personal computer with an Internet connection. They can talk to clients via video chat or teleconferencing, and they can sign and send documents via email and other services. Bookkeeping, tax calculations, and even payroll filing can all be done at home, and those are just some of the jobs in the finance field. There are thousands of other jobs that can be performed at home with the right technology.
Modify the Home
Some people may need to set up a studio in their home to continue working. Some examples include engineers who fabricate prototypes for manufacturers, artists who create sculptures and other pieces, and craftsmen who create instruments. People who are wheelchair-bound can still create these items and use the machinery required, but they may have problems setting up their studio if the only free space is on another level of their home.
Fortunately, home elevators are affordable even for those who don’t live in mansions. An elevator can be installed in a two-story home or even one with an attic or basement, and the disabled person can set up the studio where convenient without any access issues. Other modifications can be made to the home to meet the physical needs of the disabled person.
Get a Personal Assistant or Virtual Assistant
Andy Warhol worked with assistants, and he wasn’t even disabled. So why can’t a disabled person do the same? People who are disabled can hire a personal assistant to do whatever it is they need doing, from making phone calls to actually performing the work physically as instructed. For example, a writer who could no longer use his hands could dictate his thoughts to an assistant who types them.
Virtual assistants are also available online. They can conduct research, place orders, manage finances, and much more. Those who are disabled may take longer to perform their work or may tire easily, so using a virtual assistant can free them up to focus on their core duties.
Use Assistive Technology
That same writer who no longer has use of his hands can use voice-recognition software that will type words that are dictated. A scientist who has lost all motor control can even use software that recognizes eye movements to type communication. (Hey, that sounds familiar!)
Technology has advanced so much that there are tools to help people with almost any kind of disability. Even the seemingly impossible has been made possible, and there are people with disabilities who are continuing to make important contributions to society and to make a name for themselves in their chosen professions.
If you have become disabled, don’t let that stop you from doing what you love. You can continue to support yourself and your family through your career by making a few adjustments to the way you do the job. Plus, you’ll continue to feel like an autonomous and accomplished person.