This entry originally appeared on my disability blog, I hate stairs.
Though many people with disabilities are able to work, some are not. I’ve worked some part-time and have done freelance web design work as well. And while I believe I would make a, quite frankly, awesome employee at a small web design business, I have had trouble landing such a position.
Part of it is the economy. Part of it is a stigma that I have as a person with a disability. I hate to say it, but it’s true. I had a potential employer that was interested in me, but when they learned that I was disabled, I never heard from them again.
The point I want to make is that employment for people with disabilities can be complicated for a variety of reasons. I’m not passing any judgement on people with disabilities who are working. More power to them. I’m also not passing judgement on people with disabilities that aren’t working (for whatever reason). But I know that there are some pretty talented disabled folks out there who, regardless of their possible unemployment, have some great skills to offer.
Now that you know the backstory, here’s the idea:
Create a social networking site for the purpose of connecting people with disabilities with common interests and various skills and facilitate their collaboration on projects of their own creation.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say Dave has a passion for fantasy novels. He also enjoys strategy board games. He decides that he wants to create a board game. Dave is a great writer and has all sorts of ideas about the storyline behind the game. He has some idea of the gameplay. But he wants the game to have great fantasy art as well. And Dave is no illustrator.
So he creates the board game project on our community site, describing what the project is about.
Soon, Lee sees the project listing. Lee loves fantasy art and is a pretty good illustrator. He contacts Dave through the site. Dave creates a group on the site and sends Lee an invitation. Now the two of them have a place to collaborate.
They get some great concept work done and want to share their progress with the community. So they create a blog on the community site as a place to post updates about their project. Pretty soon, they’ve got quite a few people interested in what they are doing. That’s when Ava, who loves paper crafts, contacts the team about helping create the board and pieces for the game. Dave and Lee are excited about the opportunity and invite Ava to the group. After some hard work by the three of them, a sweet new fantasy board game has been created.
Who knows? If the fan base is large enough, perhaps they sell the game and split the resulting revenues.
The point is that, individually, they could not have completed the project. But by combining their skills and passions, they were able to create something that benefits themselves as well as anyone interested in the game. And they became friends along the way.
Admittedly, the idea has little to do with disability. That is, anybody might enjoy such a site. But the idea here is to connect people with disabilities who spend a lot of time alone. There’s no reason to spend so much time in isolation when you could easily connect with others who are in similar situations.
I don’t have it all worked out. This is the inception of an idea. I don’t know that anyone would care to join and foster such a community. But I think it would be a great way for people with disabilities who have trouble getting out to meet new people and make or do some cool things.
What do you think?