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People as Precious Commodities

The human being as a commodity is the disease of our age.

Max Lerner

They’re not listed on any stock exchange, but people with disabilities represent a precious commodity. This might sound like a compliment, but it’s not! It reflects the sad state that people with disabilities are the raw material of the gargantuan human services.

Every name on the rolls of special education, vocational-rehabilitation and other employment services, habilitation services, therapy centers, and any other public or private agency that provides services represents cold, hard cash: funds that keeps the agencies in business. Historically, people with disabilities have been seen as “needy” and “dependent.” But the reality is something else: human service providers—in whatever form—and the people who are employed by them, are dependent on people with disabilities. Without them, these agencies would go belly up and thousands of providers, teachers, and others would be in the unemployment line or would need to move into a different career path. And when we open our eyes really wide, this situation explains a great deal.

It explains why so many students are referred for special ed services. It explains why few children are ever “released” from therapy (they are said to never reach their “goals”). It explains why so many adults receiving vocational/employment services remain jobless. It explains why so many children and adults continue to be classified as “needy” and “dependent.” Few workers, unfortunately, are willing to work themselves out of a job​ . . . Click here to continue.