Before telling my Story, there are two terms that need to be defined so that readers will know what I'm talking about. They are the following: I. Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury. II. What does it mean to be Normal?
I. What is Traumatic Brain Injury or Acquired Brain Injury?
This is a specific type of injury that result in unseen damage to one's on board computer-the brain. If massive damage to this human computer occurs pre adolescence then that person may not display any of the outward signs of TBI. However this doesn't mean that they don't have limitations. It only means that these limitations are not visible to the human eye. They are still there, and they may still cause problems especially if the survivor received his injury post rehabilitative help. This was generally before 1980. Not before 1980 was TBI considered to be a disability, therefore its survivors generally received no type of professional help or rehabilitative help.
TBI post adolescence may be hard to diagnose because it will take specialized tests to uncover the many times deep-rooted, and undiagnosed deficits. These tests are called complete Neuro-psychological evaluations and should be demanded if a child has been diagnosed as having sustained Traumatic Brain Injury. Although their deficits are deep- rooted, these individuals will still require extensive rehabilitation and life long supports if they are to gain and maintain employment.
A massive insult the to the human computer (THE BRAIN) post adolescence can be just as devastating, to the survivor, to the survivor as if it had occurred during birth and left him with a severe case of Cerebral Palsy. The survivor only appears to have CP but he doesn't. Like the survivor, pre adolescence, the survivor post adolescence will also require extensive rehabilitation and life long supports if they are to gain and maintain employment.
II. What is Normal?
According to Webster (The Shorter Oxford Dictionary for America), "normal is of the useful type; what is regarded as usual or regular or normal is what is considered the standard for a certain group, type or mode. This definition is simple and straightforward and is useful only if you are referring to individuals who have no infirmities. When referring to individuals with infirmities this definition falls short because according to it they will not be of the usual or normal sort. These individuals will also not fit the standard for a certain group, type or mode. In other words they are different from the norm. Being different from the norm must therefore mean that they are not capable of competing with others who have no infirmities. That is they must be incapable of working.
Are all individuals with infirmities disabled? If you believe this then people like Louis Pasteur, Madame Curie, Michael Angelo, Caesar Augustus, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Patti Duke never accomplished anything because guess what? Each had some type of infirmity either physical or mental which they manage to overcome and become successful in life. Like this.....
Wouldn't it be nice if the disabled of America could do as well as the above people did? Maybe we could if we didn't have to overcome our disabilities only to find that many artificial barriers have been erected toward our quest for employment. Maybe if these artificial barriers to employment were removed then those disabled who are able to work would be able to gain employment or even return to work.
If America truly cared about her disabled, then she would remove all artificial barriers to our employment as well as initiating support at all levels of recovery. If these supports were in place then America would insure that many of her disabled were taxpayers not individuals who may have been forced to become dependant upon government assistance.
One artificial barrier that works to our disadvantage is insurance. It appears that one may be written up as a risk for private insurance but if they are a risk for private insurance then how will they become employed? How many employers actively recruit employees who they consider to be liabilities to the workplace?
If insurance requirements were removed from employment then at least 17 disability groups whose initial disabilities have been either medically controlled or cured or controlled might not be forced to rely upon government assistance. If this one artificial barrier to employment were removed then possibly our unemployment rate would approach 6% instead of remaining stagnant at around 70%. If our unemployment were to approach 6% then we, as a collective whole, would bring in taxable revenue that would most likely exceed Three Hundred Billion each fiscal year. It is ironic that this figure roughly equals one year's interest on our National Debt. It is also a little ironic that our country so far fails to see any connection between the Ills of our Social Security System and the unstemmed rise of disability.
It appears that our leaders fail to see the need to return the disabled to employment so that their taxes can contribute to the support of this great social system. It seems that they fail to realize that this system has to have as many people as possible employed instead of a large unemployed group of people dependant upon government assistance. It appears that America's leaders would rather keep our disabled hostage to government. Why because to do so is easier because they don't have to change the status quo. They must not realize that our system needs this change because such a change would benefit all Americans living today as well as those yet unborn. Such a change in the status quo would insure that there are supports in place that would help the disabled become employed thereby stemming the now uncontrolled rise of disability. Such a change in the status quo would insure that Americas work force would not decrease because of lack of caring on the part of our leaders.
Insuring that America's work force remains as stable as possible is the key to curing the ills of our Social Security System.