Adjusting to Disabilities
Adjusting to disabilities is different for those born with disabilities than those with an acquired disability. Also, whether or not the disability is visible makes a difference in how they perceive themselves and how others view them. People will avoid people with disabilities (PWD) or treat them as if they are not an equal. If you have a mental illness, people may not understand why you cannot perform certain activities or tasks, or interact with the community. For those with a physical disability, they may be seen as being unable to do certain things, or limited because they are a wheelchair user or blind.
In both these examples other people’s perceptions are what limits the individual before they even begin to deal with their own understanding of their disability. People with a high level self-esteem, good support system, more economic resources and social supports have a better experience and are less likely to face the same barriers as those who do not. The focus of community is about the PWD’s right to engage in and maintain gainful employment and access to resources. This creates barriers in different communities that feel if a person with a disability has to work, then the family is not performing their duty in the family to take care of them. Working can have such a positive impact on a PWD. It allows for social interaction, the ability to learn new skills, builds self-esteem, enables them to make their own money, and be independent. Understanding how culture plays a part in disability will go a long way in helping the client and their family members support their loved one.