How to Overcome Disability Barriers

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When most people think of a disability, they think of a wheelchair-bound person unable to walk, or an individual who is deaf or blind; however, disabilities also include issues such as cancers and chronic illnesses, such as AIDS.

Individuals with such disabilities will often face some barriers, whether those barriers are physical, mental or on the job. There are several things an individual with a disability can do in order to overcome those barriers.

Know your rights. To prevent discrimination when applying for a job or attending college, it is important you understand your rights as an individual. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers civil rights protection to people with disabilities all across the board, including those with chronic illnesses such as AIDS and post-traumatic stress disorder. The ADA protects individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against, such as being refused a job because of a disability.

Participate in activities. Just because you have a disability doesn't mean you have to be inactive. Consider your abilities and the types of activities in which you are able to participate. Some activities include joining a sports team, a chess club, book club, horseback riding, cooking classes and yoga. Being active is not only healthful, but can boost your confidence and enhance your mood as well.

Change your thinking. Some individuals with disabilities allow mental barriers to keep them from enjoying their strengths and talents; instead, they focus on their weakness. Often a disability can make an individual feel defeated or hopeless. Instead of focusing on the things you cannot do because of your disability, put your emphasis on the things you can do. Change your inner language from "I can't" to "I can." Believe in your abilities and the strengths that you possess. For every time a defeated thought creeps into your mind, immediately replace it with a positive one. You can even keep a journal or blog of your affirmations. For instance, in your journal you should write positive statements that focus only on your strengths, no matter how big or small. Such statements might include, "I am a good communicator" or "I have a quick hand in Poker" and "I have good balance in yoga."

Get involved with volunteer work. Perhaps you might wish to participate in organisations for individuals who share a similar disability. Working with others to help improve their lifestyle is overall good for your well-being and can improve your self-esteem. You may even want to consider organising a talk or fundraiser in your community that helps raise money for organisations or research committed to benefiting individuals with that disability. It is a good way for raising awareness and a better understanding of people faced with disabilities as well.