October is national disability awareness month - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

October is national disability awareness month

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October 20, 2004

Valdosta - October is national disability awareness month. An estimated 1.2 million Georgians have disabilities, and about 700,000 of them are unemployed.

Wednesday, employers in Valdosta learned ways they can create a friendly work environment for people living with disabilities. They heard the success story of one disabled Valdostan, Charles Boyd.

Since an accident left him paralyzed 14 years ago, Boyd has been adjusting to life as a quadriplegic. "It's pretty different to start out with," said Boyd.

He's learned to drive, live on his own, and most importantly, work. "I do typing for them and give presentations to groups," said Boyd.

Boyd found a career at the American Red Cross. Even though he has trouble moving his hands, he can still work a computer using a voice activated program that dictates his words. "Doing the typing, surfing the net, anything you want to do, that helps out," said Boyd.

Now Boyd is hoping to help other disabled Americans find work. "There's a world out there and you can still do some of the same things, you just do it a little different," said Boyd.

The Department of Labor's Career Center has all kinds of training and equipment available to help people with disabilities get back on their feet. "We can provide re-training, job placement, we've got a large print computer, we've also got braille," said Mixson Anderson, Rehab Employment Specialist.

Resources that helped restore Boyd's confidence and made him once again, a productive member of society.

posted at 4:20 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com