ThisAbled is built on the concept that in order for people with disabilities to be free they have to be politically and economically empowered. No. We are not a not-for-profit entity. In order to survive as a business we will depend on you, people with disabilities, family members, friends and those whom we assisted in one way or another.
The ThisAbled Philosophy
Throughout our existence as Thisabled persons we have been bombarded by how much the government, non-profits, and other similar services were going to do for us. We are victims who some how needed the salvation that only comes from "trained professionals". Don't get u s wrong there are many organizations, government and otherwise, that have assisted many persons with disabilities in becoming independent. However, statistics show that people with disabilities are among the most impoverished groups in our Nation. The pattern of hand to mouth benefits is not working for us. If anything it is engulfing our community in a virtual prison of unemployment, poor health, and poverty.
Who We Are
Javier Robles, J.D.[Read Complete Bio Here] who is a graduate of Seton Hall Law School, created ThisAbled.com. Currently he works as Deputy Director of the New Jersey Division of Disability Services. As a C-5 Tetraplegic for 25 years Mr. Robles understands the need for a society that is inclusive of people with disabilities. Mr. Robles was an advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. For the past ten years he has been involved in New Jersey’s efforts to change the employment infrastructure for people with disabilities.
Through the national movement to change employment outcomes under the Work Incentives Act of 1999, Mr. Robles has guided statewide change to decrease unemployment. The following are efforts that have been undertaken under his leadership.
- State of New Jersey’s Plan on Employment of people with disabilities
- Meeting the Employment Transportation Needs of People with Disabilities
- NJ WorkAbility Evaluation
- The State of New Jersey’s First Governors Conference on Employment of People with Disabilities
- The Marketing and outreach efforts for NJ WorkAbility which have provided health insurance to more than 3000 working people with Disabilities.
- The States first conferences for African Americans and Latinos with disabilities and employment.
- More than 400 presentations on disability issues.
Mr. Robles is committed to the advancement of people with disabilities through opportunity and skill development. However, he understands that society must be part of the solution.
ThisAbled.Com will provide our readers with progressive content and cutting edge reporting. This website will not shy away from touchy or controversial subjects. In addition, we offer our readers a chance to express their views and make connections in our Forum. The following 10 Principles have guided our creation and will drive us forward.
10 Simple Principles
- Believe that you as a person with a disability are equal in value to the people around you.
- Believe that you have something society can benefit from.
- Understand that your disability makes you unique not different.
- When the boat is sinking do not use another person with a disability as a life raft.
- When you get to where you’re going draw a map for someone that may not know the way.
- Realize that government benefits are a beginning not an end.
- Do not let others define your goals or successes.
- Use the ballot box to send a message.
- Educate the young.
Believe that you as a person with a disability are equal in value to the people around you.
This is a hard one. Not because it is not true but because many of the messages people with disabilities receive tell them this is so. From movies to commercials, from “friends” to family we are bombarded with pretty pictures and excess bravado. The problem is that if you reinforce a message long enough some people are going to start to believe it. Don’t believe it! Madison Ave. makes millions in selling products to “beautiful people”. Do not measure equality in terms of your limitations. Measure it in regards to what you can do or offer as a person.
Believe that you have something society can benefit from.
During my day job I inevitably get a call from someone who suffered a spinal cord injury. They usually wish to know what they can have in terms of benefits, know that they won’t be working. The reality is that the accident did not prevent them from contributing to society. They are going on a long-standing assumption they their services are no longer needed. They believe it is time to collect! Hold up. I tell them. Why can’t you work? (Yes. I know the question is loaded considering a 70% unemployment rate). It is obvious isn’t it? No, not really, I tell him. I have had a spinal cord injury since I was 16 and I am working. There it starts, a conversation about their ability to offer themselves and society a benefit. You may be asking why I phrased Principle 2. the way I did. It is important to give language back to people with disabilities in a positive manner. Therefore, it is society that is getting a “benefit” from us, not the other way around.
Understand that your disability makes you unique not different.
Different often connotes something negative. It also, brings to mind something or someone that is not like us. Whereas unique is one of a kind, like Michael Jordan or Albert Einstein.
When the boat is sinking do not use another person with a disability as a life raft.
This is especially important in environments where people with disabilities are competing for similar resources or in employment situations. I have witnessed a situation where a few agencies were offered what appeared to me to be meager funds, and they fought tooth and nail against each other to get it. Not once did any of them say, let us stop and see what is best for the people we serve. In other instances individuals with disabilities who were employed questioned why someone else with a disability received a benefit and they did not. If someone is doing well congratulate them. If someone has fallen down give them a hand. Why? What you teach to others, they will learn and re-teach.
When you get to where you’re going draw a map for someone that may not know the way.
None of us is going to make it alone. We sometimes need to figure out how to navigate the system to get to the next step in our journey. We spend time looking up at the goal and often forget to look back. Change starts with you! If you have the opportunity hire someone with a disability, mentor or just offer support, do it. Those are real life maps that help people find their way.
Realize that government benefits are a beginning not an end.
In order to get a firm footing in life we often depend on government assistance, there is nothing wrong with that. Sooner or later we all need a hand-up not a hand out. Teach yourself or your kids with ThisAbilities that benefits are temporary if used at all. That in order to flourish we must think of benefits as a last solution not the first answer. We will talk about ways to do this in this site.
Do not let others define your goals or successes.
Define success from an individual point of view. Everyone can succeed at different levels and different time schedules.
Use the ballot box to send a message.
You have the right to vote and the obligation to do so. Nothing speaks louder than a group or individuals ability to vote someone into office (or out) ask any senior citizen.
Educate the young.
The young people hold the key to diversity, inclusion and equality teach them acceptance without prejudice.
Don’t just sit there do something!; revolutions are not started by those who sit (or stand) while the rest of the world passes them by. Believe it or not political and economic empowerment of people with disabilities is a revolutionary thought for many people.