The impact of childhood on success in adulthood has been much researched. This paper discusses how parental expectations, social class, childhood experiences and gender influenced the career success of disabled people. For respondents with congenital disabilities, disability was perceived as a primary factor influencing parental expectations, but those with acquired disabilities felt it was gender. Social class played a significant part in all respondents' childhood socialisation and parental expectations. Some experienced deprivation and trauma as children, encouraging them to master future life events. The findings highlight the importance of childhood socialisation to the career success of disabled people.