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The attitude of parents about their children with disabilities and the actions they take from the time the child is very young can make a huge difference in the person’s life.

Cary Griffin

On Becoming a Business Owner

This is in interview with Cary Griffin who is breaking new ground in self-employment of people with disabilities. He generously shared his time and wisdom to help us learn more about turning dreams into realities in this interview. Cary is Senior Partner at Griffin-Hammis Associates and maintains a strong relationship with the Rural Institute at the University of Montana.

What are the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities in employment?

The biggest barrier is old attitudes. A lot of people still don’t believe individuals with disabilities can work, and they especially don’t believe a person with a disability could own his or her own business. Perceptions and attitudes—not a person’s disability label—are essentially the greatest barriers to successful employment or self-employment of folks with disabilities.

Only about 12-15 percent of the people we work with in self-employment are people with developmental disabilities, because we can’t get to them! Some are “managed” by an agency run by professionals who don’t believe individuals with disabilities can own their own businesses. There are some are folks with significant developmental disabilities who are extremely isolated; we can’t find them and they have no idea self-employment is even an option. Too many people with disabilities are basically “owned” by the system.My associates and I have been involved in helping more than 200 people with disabilities start their own businesses, and the one thing they’ve said over and over is, “You didn’t say no! You gave me hope.” Click here to continue.