Programmes have been developed and measures taken in many countries to create jobs for disabled persons, including sheltered and production workshops, sheltered enclaves, designated positions, quota schemes, subsidies for employers who train and subsequently engage disabled workers, cooperatives of and for the disabled, etc; but the actual number of disabled workers employed in either regular or special establishments is far below the number of employable disabled workers. Wider application of ergonomic principles would lead to adaptation of the work place, tools, machinery and equipment at relatively little cost and thus help to widen employment opportunities for the disabled.
Many disabled persons, particularly in the developing countries, live in rural areas. When the family economy is based on agriculture or other rural occupations and when the traditional extended family exists, it may be possible for most disabled persons to be given some useful tasks to perform. As more families move from rural areas to urban centres, as agriculture becomes more mechanized and commercialized, as money transactions replace barter systems and as the institution of the extended family disintegrates, the vocational plight of disabled persons becomes more severe. For those living in urban slums, competition for employment is heavy, and other economically productive activity is scarce. Many disabled persons in such areas suffer from enforced inactivity and become dependent; others must resort to begging.