8 Ways to Support People With Disabilities

People with disabilities, young, old, and in between, all want the same thing: to feel included. A sense of belonging and integration is vital to every person across the globe, especially those with disabilities. When that sense of belonging is missing from life, it can be so easy to slip into a dark hole and convince yourself that you don’t matter. Well we all matter; no matter our age, gender, or disability.

Society has ingrained into our brains that if we are different, we don’t belong. Society rejects those who are different; who don’t fit into the perfect “mold”, if you will. An estimated 48.9 million people in the United States have some sort of disability. That’s almost 50 million people who deserve to be treated with the same love and support as the rest. Here are 6 ways that you can support people with disabilities:

1) Set high and reasonable expectations

Society wants us to believe that people with disabilities need to be continuously coddled and require constant supervision. While all disabilities are different, that is generally not the case. Society continues to set low expectations for people with disabilities and over time, that way of thinking has become adopted by a vast majority of people. This also transcends to those with disabilities, and they start setting low expectations for themselves as well. One of the best ways to support people with disabilities is to set high, albeit normal, expectations. Make them feel like your equal.

2) Educate yourself

It’s as easy as completing a Google search! You don’t need to take classes or go to the library; all you have to do is type a few words into Google and thousands of articles are at your fingertips. You don’t need to be an expert, just know the basics. Learn a little bit about the good, bad, and the ugly of someone with a specific disability.

If you feel comfortable, ask them in person. The internet can only tell you so much. Each disability is unique to their person, so if the timing feels right, ask them if they are comfortable enough to talk about their disability. Ask them what they can and/or can’t do and what they would like to be able to do in the future.

3) Never assume

You know what they say about assuming things. If you feel it is appropriate to ask if someone has a disability, go for it, but don’t assume you know. Many disabilities go unnoticed because they can easily fit into society’s “mold”. There’s nothing more awkward than assuming someone has a disability and they in fact do not.

4) Be a good listener

This could go for all stages of life, but it is vital to be a good listener in supporting people with disabilities. It is often assumed that people with disabilities can’t or don’t want to interact with others, but that is not always the case (and it usually isn’t). You may have to learn how they communicate and adjust from there, but listening is such an important trait and quality. When you truly open yourself up and listen to the other person, they will begin to feel included and start feeling important; start feeling wanted. These three things are vitally important to living a happy life.

5) Be inclusive and welcoming

Though this ties into the point above, it is important to note. You don’t have to be friends with everyone and go out of your way to spend time with them. Being inclusive should not be associated with pity. We are not forcing anyone to become friends, but make sure that your friends and acquaintances with disabilities can participate in group activities. If you don’t know if they can or not, just ask them! The simple act of asking questions can alone make them feel included.

6) Be a good support system

Everyone can thrive when they have a good support system to fall back on. People with disabilities may need support differently than you do, but they need the act of support all the same. Educate yourself and understand how you can be a solid support system. A good support system looks different to people with different disabilities.

Rehabilitation Service Provides Limitless Opportunities for the Disabled

Adults with disabilities are achieving more and more every day, blowing past perceived limitations. With a strong rehabilitation service to prepare an individual for a particular role or job, the possibilities are expanding for those with mental or physical disabilities. Here are just some of the many fields that are opening up to the disabled adult community.

1) Medical administration jobs allow individuals to work at desks, surrounded by others who understand a range of mental or physical disabilities. Accompanying rehabilitation service may also be available in the same building, ensuring convenience and familiarity. At the very least, jobs in this setting will be proactive in securing physical and mental assistance for all of their employees.

2) For those who are confined to the home or prefer to work from home, there are an increasing number of careers that promote or allow this flexibility. These jobs include medical transcription, graphic design, writing, web development, or sales. This list is only scratching the surface of jobs that can be performed from home. Rehabilitation service providers can often meet with clients at home, at the patients’ discretion, accommodating their flexible work schedules.

3) For those who are artistically inclined, there are expanding options that are financially supportive as well. Community centers and increasing cultural awareness allow those who are physically limited to have better access to programs for photography or painting. Disabled adults often have a unique perspective or story to tell, perfect for creative writing, design, and other artistic outlets. The physical action of many artistic mediums can be therapeutic and help train muscles, too.

4) Teaching and disability education are a natural transition for those who have conquered their own setbacks. Who better to guide individuals through physical and intellectual obstacles than those who have done it already? An organic empathy and connection is a great foundation for a counseling or teaching career. Ongoing rehabilitation service provides support, motivation, and instruction.

5) Many adults with disabilities enjoy the logic that comes with working as an accountant, or with other jobs that require money management. A desk job like this can create a soothing environment and consistent routine. Similarly, a computer can be set up to assist those with hearing, visual, or other sensory disabilities. For those who struggle with constant communication, especially in the service industry, this can be the perfect alternative.

Rehabilitation service centers focus on vocational training, developing a specific program for every individual. The training starts by identifying individual strengths and aspirations, and it works toward consulting businesses and placing individuals in a specific position. Upon placement, a case manager can continue to assist the disabled adult after job placement as they transition to their work environment and find a comfortable routine. This provides a community of support to help every individual find success, happiness, and fulfillment.

Theo Huxtable – TV’s First Advocate For Schools for Dyslexia

Timothy McSweeney once described Theo Huxtable from The Cosby Show as a “Byronic Hero.” Besides Theo’s good looks, McSweeney points to Byron’s clubfoot as a disability that made the hero stand-apart. However, the same can be said of Theo. For the majority of the series’ early years, Theo was a classic case of a bad student. However, The Cosby Show remarkably changed peoples’ opinion of the character after it was revealed that he suffered from a disability. This left audiences wondering how great of a student he could have been if his parents had diagnosed him early on, and if they had done their research on schools for dyslexia.

The particular episode that revealed Theo’s disability was entitled “Theo’s Gift,” which first aired in 1989. For many viewers, this show was the first time they had heard of the learning disability. Although the series did not show Theo enrolling in any schools for dyslexia, it still demonstrated some of the difficulties that students had with decoding words and how it could negatively affected students’ reading levels. Instead of representing Theo as the “bad student” with no one to blame but himself, the series pinpointed the learning disability as the root cause of his difficulty in school. Moreover, the show also offered a subtle critique of the current state of public education by implying that had Theo’s disability been discovered earlier, he could have been a better student.

Although Theo eventually received support from his current school, the series could have shown how schools for dyslexia have specific ways of helping students learn how to overcome their challenges and increase their reading level. Furthermore, because they are specialized in that learning disability, those schools offer a more accepting environment that could have potentially helped Theo overcome his disability.

As The Cosby Show progressed over the years, Theo’s dyslexia motivated the character to help others that shared his difficulties. Rather than feel defeated from realizing that he had the learning disability, Theo worked hard to eventually open one of the first schools for dyslexia ever depicted on television. It is difficult to know for sure, but it is likely that the series’ positive representation of the disability helped not only spread awareness about dyslexia, but also helped many students finally understand why they found it so difficult to read.

It can be very difficult to educate children. Home life and undiagnosed disabilities like dyslexia can truly get in the way of teachers’ efforts to help students reach their ultimate potential. Because general education schools have to focus on teaching to the majority of students, they lose their ability to create customized education plans that can support students with special needs. For this reason, schools for dyslexia and other disabilities are a great help for a number of students. While they require that students leave the only kind of schooling they have come to know, they also offer some of the best resources to assist those students with special needs. Because so many students can fall through the cracks in the education system, Theo Huxtable’s advocacy for schools for dyslexia is truly commendable.

Short Term Disability – Affording First Trimester Bed Rest

A new pregnancy if full of excitement and anticipation; you look forward to that bouncing new baby and holding it in your arms. Many couples choose to wait until the second trimester to break the news to family and friends. There is a realization that the first few months of pregnancy can be risky. If a couple loses their baby during this time, they prefer to mourn privately.

A common problem is first trimester spotting or bleeding. Approximately one quarter of women who deliver healthy babies experience some spotting early in her pregnancy. However bleeding may be an indicator of a pending miscarriage, and sometimes a doctor may suggest bed rest to improve the chances of a successful delivery and healthy mother.

First Trimester Bed Rest

Bed rest for a couple of days is tolerable for most women – and their finances. But sometimes the bed rest can extend for weeks or months. If mom’s income is needed to help make ends meet financially, the loss of income places an unneeded, unwanted, and unhealthy strain on an already difficult situation. Adding stress on top of first trimester bleeding can’t be good for mom or her baby. Bed rest should relieve stress, not add to it.

Sometimes a family just can’t afford having mom miss extra time from work. Rather than taking the bed rest she her doctor suggests, she returns to work hoping for the best. What a horrible dilemma that many women face: choosing between the health of her baby, and financial ruin. There must be a better way.

Short Term Disability for Bed Rest

Short term disability insurance is vital in situations like these. It replaces mom’s income during the time she misses work for her pregnancy, whether it’s during the first trimester, second trimester, third trimester, or on her maternity leave. The income replacement allows mom to rest comfortable at home without worrying about how to pay the bills, rushing back to work too soon, or ignoring doctor orders.

The most amazing aspect of short term disability coverage is the incentives to sign up before getting pregnant. First, in order to cover any pregnancy, the policy must begin before getting pregnant. Second, there is an opportunity to buy insurance for a planned event: her normal labor and delivery.

By buying insurance that covers a planned event you can beat the insurance company at its own game. Short term disability pays a six week benefit for normal vaginal delivery and an eight week benefit for a normal c-section delivery – less the elimination period. The projected benefit for normal delivery is two to three times the average annual premium.

Short Term Disability Creates Maternity Income

This means that women planning a pregnancy can use short term disability insurance to create maternity leave income. And at no additional premium cost comes the added security of knowing that you are also covered if your doctor orders bed rest during your first trimester, or any other time during your pregnancy.

Do yourself and your future pregnancy a huge favor. Purchase short term disability insurance before getting pregnant.