Enabling Greater Independence for People With Disabilities

In the US, over 3 million children and 60 million adults live with a disability. Whether they experience physical or mental impairment, people with disabilities can benefit from becoming part of a community that understands their particular needs and provides them with emotional and practical support. However, at the same time as socializing and working with peers and mentors who may share their unique experiences, most disabled people would also rather avoid being defined by their disability. Equally as important as being offered help is being given opportunities to make autonomous decisions and having the chance of becoming more self-reliant where possible.
Community Support
For people with disabilities, as well as their families and carers, a support network or community of like-minded people with similar experiences can provide practical advice, and allow access to education and employment opportunities. Some disability communities offer the chance to socialize with others and provide the support to become more self-reliant, while other advocacy campaigns and organizations encourage a proactive approach to developing and changing disability laws. Cerebral palsy is the most common disability affecting mobility in children and, while the condition can be challenging, at, families and carers can find emotional support and access to practical resources and treatments. Effectively managing symptoms with therapies can enable children and adults with the condition to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Independent Living
While communities provide support for people with disabilities, they can also enable people to live a more independent life. Having a job can play an important role in facilitating independence and yet, last year, only 17.9% of people with disabilities were in work, compared to over 60% of people without a disability. Independence doesn’t necessarily mean living and working alone without support but rather, as highlighted by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, having some autonomy when it comes to making decisions about life choices. Collaborative organizations that advocate positive employment outcomes not only help people with disabilities find meaningful work but also allow businesses to benefit from the increased productivity of an inclusive and diverse workplace.
With the right help and opportunities, people with disabilities can achieve higher levels of autonomy and lead more fulfilling lives. A range of communities and organizations can provide emotional support as well as access to healthcare, education and work that enable independent living.
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