Living well with a disability can be burdensome, not just because of your body’s limited mobility, but also due to the stigma towards various disabling conditions. As long as those persist, socializing will always be difficult, which can drive us to despair.
Maintaining friendships is already taxing enough, which makes meeting new people even more intimidating. Every time we expose ourselves to a new environment, we’re always uncertain how to act, fearing that the people around us are judging us for our disability. How can we overcome this struggle, then? What can we do to break the stigma towards our condition?
Learning to Accept Your Disability
The first step to putting yourself out there is accepting your condition first. It won’t be easy, but continually denying your condition will only impede your recovery. It keeps you from moving forward and making new goals for your life.
Accepting your disability doesn’t mean suppressing your negative emotions. Rather, it’s allowing yourself to mourn what you’ve lost. You should express your pain, and experience your feelings without judgment. You don’t have to force yourself to smile, either, let alone be happy. What’s important is eventually overcoming the grief of becoming disabled.
Once you already feel stronger, come to terms with your “new” body by learning about your disability. This lets you discover what you can still do despite your decreased mobility. Strive to be happy again by seeking inspiring stories of other disabled people. When you fill your mind with positivity and hope, you can feel more secure as you visit an accommodating wheelchair store with a family member or friend.
Debunking the Myths and Misconceptions About Disability
The stigma towards disabled people may stem from a society that still believes the myths and misconceptions about disability. Using platforms such as social media, debunk those false notions by identifying each of them:
- “Wheelchair-bound people cannot walk.” This is false because many wheelchair and mobility aid users are generally still able to walk unaided. They just can’t do so for prolonged periods or consistently. Simply put, it’s insensitive to assume that anyone using a wheelchair is paralyzed.
- “The term ‘disabled’ is offensive.” Depending on the context, it can indeed be offensive, so it’s advised to research thoroughly to learn the proper usage of the term.
- “Assistive devices don’t work.” This applies to hearing aids and other wearable assistive devices. Such products are made to let disabled people mitigate their day-to-day difficulties. Hence, for instance, people don’t need to raise their voices anymore when speaking to a hearing-impaired person.
- “Disabled people can’t be in relationships.” Sadly, this level of ignorance exists in some people. This is alarming because it can lead to an increased prevalence of people with intellectual disabilities being abused.
By pointing out these myths and debunking them with the right information, you’ll be making a change in the world of the disabled and the misinformed.
Excelling in School
Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA), discrimination against the disabled is now prohibited by law. Meanwhile, the Assistive Technology Act is providing grant funding for technological aids.
These movements have helped disabled college students pursue high-quality education and live normally on campus. They can also adjust their schedules and learning methods according to their needs. With the help of their parents, teachers, or counselors, they can make a plan to attain their collegiate goals. As a result, they can excel in college just like any abled person can.
Accepting your disability and living well with it will be a process, but as long as you keep actively voicing out your concerns and speaking for your fellows, you are progressively making way for a world that accepts all disabled people without judgment.