Marketing 101

Disability Is Natural Books and Media

New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

So the first order of business is to identify the strengths, talents, abilities, interests, and other positive characteristics that can be used to successfully market a person with a disability...

Equally important, this is how the person with a disability needs to see herself.

Kathie Snow

In the Real World, it seems just about everyone understands the value of marketing. Businesses advertise—showcasing their products and services to make us want them! Politicians and policymakers work diligently to market themselves or their ideas. Before a job interview, we polish our resumes, along with our shoes, to create the very best impression. Even very young children seem to recognize the value of marketing (since they’re constantly barraged with it via TV commercials): they want the “best” toys! In the Real World, the most positive attributes—of a product, service, or person—are valued and marketed.

But in Disability World, a person’s problems, deficits, and/or other “negatives” are valued and—unfortunately—promoted. This is not news, nor is it unexpected, for in the system of special services for people with disabilities, a person’s “deficiencies” are the ticket to services.

A parent, for example, may share a laundry list of her child’s problems in order to get as many special ed services as possible. She may also add that she wants her child included in the general ed classroom.” In response, special educators say,  “But your child has too many problems for that—a special ed class is the only place for your child.” And what general ed teacher would want a student with “so many problems”?

Similar situations exist in the employment field. A special ed teacher in a small town made calls to local businesses in an attempt to find jobs for high school students with disabilities. She moaned and groaned when her efforts were fruitless. When asked, she described her technique . . . Click here to continue.