Persons with disabilities (PWDs) often struggle with many challenges that may make them feel like giving up on life. However, having a disability should not be a cause for despair. No matter how tough the going gets, it would help if you never entertained the idea of quitting. There are many recognized disability barriers, but acceptance is the first step to overcoming them.
Furthermore, even non-disabled people undergo trying circumstances. The truth is, in one way or another, nobody has it easy.
We are all brought to earth to serve a purpose in contributing to the grand scheme of things. As such, we are the captains of our destiny and can do whatever we set our minds to do.
With that said, as a person with a disability, you cannot let the barriers around you limit your life. It is best to stay positive and find a way around the obstacles, if not over them. Moreover, as a non-disabled person, you can help make the world a better place for others.
Here are ten practical ways for a PWD to overcome disability barriers:
Be polite and remain calm around obnoxious people
When someone provokes you through jokes, observe your dignity by avoiding confrontation. Instead of mocking a sarcastic comment, words suffice in ruining the heckler’s moment of fame. Taking control and being funnier than your heckler, especially in public, helps boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Accept your disability
For most individuals, this proves to be the most difficult and dispiriting. Individuals are compelled to come to terms with their condition and work to find new ways to enjoy life with their disability. If treatment and therapy can improve your condition, you are encouraged to take the opportunity and push yourself to a better life. Healing requires you to accept yourself without stigmatising yourself.
Give your best
It is better to focus on the easy wins and on being better, rather than constantly obsessing over your failures or challenges. You have to make peace because your disability will not hold you back from being the best version of yourself. Never judge your progress by other people’s standards, but rather focus on ways you can improve your performance.
Grieve and accept all the five stages of grief due to disability
It is highly recommended to pursue guidance from counsellors, therapists, close confidants, and close family members. When dealing with family and friends, gauge who are genuinely supportive. It is advisable to not project emotional outbursts, especially to individuals who genuinely care about you. Therapy helps to navigate emotions and repressed feelings to help improve mental health
Avoid comparisons and celebrate your accomplishments
The first is to set your goals and ways to achieve them. In most cases, we wish to attain success as fast as others appear to; it is essential to appreciate growth through every stage of life and celebrate every successful move. For instance, a basketball player who misses most of the basketball season due to injury has reason to celebrate an opportunity to play in the second-last game, despite everyone else getting to play the entire season. We all have our own journeys and should set our goals in accordance with own unique frame of reference
Increase PWD representation in politics
Try and think of any government official at the local or national level with a disability. The elephant in the room is whether society is promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in politics. The National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent organization, researched the barriers present for people with disabilities in the polling station during elections. Findings from the National Council on Disability individuals with disabilities experience attitudinal, architectural, and technological hindrances when voting. Some of the common issues raised include the absence of automatic doors, the absence of American Sign Language interprets or braille signs for the blind, and the lack of ramps and narrow doorways, making voting equipment inaccessible. Leaders from the disability community will champion their rights and help facilitate inclusivity and eliminate barriers facing people with disabilities.
Incorporate disability history in the school curriculum
Learners with disabilities find it hard to accept and own their condition since there no heritage taught about people with disabilities. Why are the Americans with Disabilities Act not included in the general American education curriculum? For inclusion to be achieved, disability history should be introduced to the school system. Learning about other people with similar predicaments helps to motivate individuals with disabilities to pursue their dreams relentlessly.
Recruit more actors with disabilities in mainstream media
More actors with disabilities need to be cast for roles with disabilities to promote inclusion and equal representation. Unless a director wants to showcase the life before disability, the case should be a disabled person instead of a non-disabled person. Is it even possible for a non-disabled actor to better play a character with a disability than a person with a disability? Our media needs to embrace disability as a human condition and stop treating it like an imperfection.
Make air travel universally accessible for PWDs
Individuals with disabilities lead active lives engaging in businesses and careers in various sectors. Knowing this is discouraging when one gets to the airport as they have to use Special Services Request to use the washroom while on the air. We’ve heard numerous cases of people with disabilities having to endure humiliating experiences to access washroom facilities. The Special Services Request training program should be reviewed to incorporate the individual’s needs using the service. Asking travels the nature of the needs will help determine the best method to use. Companies should consider developing accessible restrooms on planes to cater to people with disabilities to improve air travel.
Acknowledge that people with disabilities are human too
When we observe a different person, we tend to forget they are human too with feelings and perception. We often come across people who tend to forget individuals with disabilities are with dreams, hopes, desires, and talents like any other non-disabled person. It is amusing how we choose to view a person from one angle and forget they are human due to their appearance.