Living with a disability makes holding a regular job difficult because making too much money results in losing a lot of assistance. If this aspect of employment seeking is good for anything it’s that it builds character but… A normal job is difficult to maintain in my position because I depend on either live-in staff, or public transport to get there and back. The first of these jobs was helping Spanish-speaking children overcome language barriers in elementary school. But the shift started too early in the morning and having staff present to prepare me for work at 5am was not feasible. Apart from this I essentially had all the duties of a teacher. But inability to write for myself and with no assistive devices at the work site meant that one of my assistants would need to be present at all times, robbing the job of any semblance of independence.
By now readers have probably noticed my penchant for lending a helping hand. My first job was in high school and its where I discovered my love for helping others. I was a tutor who helps students better their ability to read in time for graduation. While attempting the teaching job, I had also been volunteering twice a week at my local hospital both as a patient escort, and a Spanish interpreter, a job I currently still do and mostly involves escorting those who need assistance locating patients’ rooms.
During this time I would spend many days playing video games when not in school studying for my associates degree. It was while playing the demo for the Uncharted collection on the PS4 that spurred my interest in contributing to accessibility. At the time I had read that Naughty Dog was set to modernize the first three entries in the vein of the fourth one. Because the fourth Uncharted was the first time I had ever played a truly accessible game, I hoped the others would be the same. The demo gave no indication as to whether that would be the case, as settings couldn’t be accessed in the demo. The demo lacked aim-assist, I searched online for hours, thinking that there had to be other gamers who like myself had struggled with the demo.
While looking for information I stumbled across Dagersystem, and the struggles that Josh faced hit close to home for me as he explained things in a way that only a person who truly had gone through the same thing could do. It seemed too good to be true, and so I scrolled further down and found Dagersystem was hiring! Despite not having experience with journalism I saw it as a potential avenue through which I could help people and also do what I love.
Working for DAGERSystem
It is said that in life, finding your way to what you love requires a little bit of blind luck, and faith. As luck would have it, I still had a script for an unproduced YouTube video. I had planned to do an Uncharted series retrospective, and bring attention to what I viewed as the developer’s unprecedented understanding of the obstacles disabled players face. I really can’t think of a better representation of that then having found my way to Dagersystem.
The work I’ve done for this site feels like it has real weight. Not only does it give a perspective that many don’t think of, but also it’s a job whose impact is tangible. There’s no better example of this then shortly after publishing a review of Red Dead Redemption II. My review made mention of the fact that I was unable to fully enjoy the fishing mini-game due to not being able to rotate the right stick. As such, I wrote Rockstar a letter requesting alternate fishing controls that required no stick rotations. While I never received a written response, about a week after the review came out, an update added alternate fishing control schemes to the game.
Working with disabled people
I originally planned to get a bachelor’s in social work as a way of being an advocate for disabled persons like myself, as in my experience, many of the people whose job it is to support disabled individuals are wonderful, but they lack one crucial element: Actually being disabled themselves. Being able to empathize with someone who is disabled, is frankly not the same as having experienced it, and understanding how best to aid them is difficult if one hasn’t been in their shoes.
Everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with at Can I Play That is also disabled, meaning we can easily relate to one another because we have all navigated similar obstacles, creating what I consider the most welcoming work-environment I’ve ever been part of. Since the work is non-profit, the pay is sufficient enough for me to feel accomplished and useful while also not interfering with the assistance I receive. It also has the benefit of being remote, meaning I don’t need to deal with the hassle of unreliable public transport, or relying on staff for assistance. Dagersystem and Can I Play That truly embody the definition and purpose of non-profit work because they enable people with disabilities to earn a profit independently, and in a world where barriers constantly go up, it certainly is nice to see a group of folks ready and willing to take them down.
AbilityPoints and Can I Play That? work hard to take down barriers to employment. Help us make an impact by donating at AbilityPoints.com/Donate.