Breaking Barriers: Empowering Individuals with Disabilities

Breaking Barriers: Empowering Individuals with Disabilities

Embracing Inclusivity and Overcoming Challenges for a More Accessible World

Introduction:

In a world that strives for equality and inclusivity, it is essential to champion the rights and empowerment of individuals with disabilities. Society’s efforts to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment have gained momentum, leading to significant progress in various aspects of life. This blog post explores the journey towards inclusivity, highlighting the advancements, challenges, and the importance of embracing diversity.

Celebrating Abilities, not Disabilities:

Disability should never define a person but be seen as a unique aspect of their identity. It is vital to shift our focus from limitations to abilities and recognize the valuable contributions individuals with disabilities bring to society. By celebrating diverse abilities, we promote an inclusive culture that values and respects the potential of every individual.

Creating Accessible Spaces:

The accessibility of public spaces, transportation systems, and buildings is crucial for inclusivity. Universal design principles have led to the implementation of ramps, elevators, tactile signage, and audio assistance, ensuring that individuals with mobility challenges can navigate their surroundings independently and comfortably. These measures foster inclusivity and promote equal access to essential services for all.

Inclusive Education for All:

Education plays a pivotal role in fostering inclusivity. Schools and educational institutions are embracing the concept of an inclusive learning environment that caters to the diverse needs of students. Individualized education plans, specialized support systems, and assistive technologies empower students with disabilities to reach their full potential. Through inclusive education, we break down barriers and provide equal opportunities for all learners.

Employment Opportunities:

The corporate world is gradually shifting towards inclusivity by recognizing the value of diverse perspectives. Companies are creating inclusive cultures that accommodate and support employees with disabilities. Adaptive technologies, flexible work arrangements, and reasonable accommodations are opening doors for individuals with disabilities to thrive professionally. Embracing diverse talents and perspectives enhances productivity and fosters a more dynamic workforce.

Challenges and the Way Forward:

While progress has been made, challenges persist on the path to inclusivity. Societal stigmas, attitudinal barriers, and systemic inequalities hinder the full integration of individuals with disabilities. Advocacy, awareness, and policy changes are crucial to address these challenges. By challenging stereotypes, fostering a culture of empathy and acceptance, and advocating for equal rights, we can drive positive change and ensure a more inclusive society for all.

The Role of Organizations and Grassroots Initiatives:

Organizations and grassroots initiatives are at the forefront of the inclusivity movement. Disability rights organizations, community centers, and support groups tirelessly work to amplify the voices of individuals with disabilities, advocate for their rights, and ensure their needs are met. Their efforts are instrumental in dismantling barriers and creating a society that values and embraces diversity.

Conclusion:

Inclusivity is a shared responsibility that requires collective action, empathy, and understanding. By recognizing the value of diversity, challenging stereotypes, and fostering equal opportunities, we can create a world where individuals with disabilities are not only included but celebrated for their unique contributions. Together, let us unite in creating a more accessible, inclusive, and equitable world for all, where the talents and potential of every individual can flourish.

February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month

February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month

Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect. How’s your self-esteem lately? Mine could use some improvement, especially with being inside my home for nearly a year now. Add to that my disabilities, the strains of caregiving, worrying about world problems and life in general, and neglecting myself, I set myself up for depression and a slight loss of self-esteem. Sometimes, because I put myself last all the time, which isn’t healthy, I find myself doubting my worth and abilities.

So what’s the remedy then? I like the information found on the Mayo Clinic Website. You can read it below, or take a gander at the site by clicking the link provided.

Self-esteem: Take steps to feel better about yourself

If you have low self-esteem, harness the power of your thoughts and beliefs to change how you feel about yourself. Start with these steps.

By Mayo Clinic Staff
 

Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job and your health. But you can boost your self-esteem by taking cues from types of mental health counseling.

Consider these steps, based on cognitive behavioral therapy.

 

1. Identify troubling conditions or situations

 

Think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:

  • A work or school presentation
  • A crisis at work or home
  • A challenge with a spouse loved one, co-worker, or another close contact
  • A change in roles or life circumstances, such as a job loss or a child leaving home
 

2. Become aware of thoughts and beliefs

 

Once you’ve identified troubling situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them. This includes what you tell yourself (self-talk) and your interpretation of what the situation means. Your thoughts and beliefs might be positive, negative, or neutral. They might be rational, based on reason or facts, or irrational, based on false ideas.

 

Ask yourself if these beliefs are true. Would you say them to a friend? If you wouldn’t say them to someone else, don’t say them to yourself.

3. Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking

 

Your initial thoughts might not be the only way to view a situation — so test the accuracy of your thoughts. Ask yourself whether your view is consistent with facts and logic or whether other explanations for the situation might be plausible.

Be aware that it can be hard to recognize inaccuracies in thinking. Long-held thoughts and beliefs can feel normal and factual, even though many are just opinions or perceptions.

 

Also, pay attention to thought patterns that erode self-esteem:

  • All-or-nothing thinking. You see things as either all good or all bad. For example, “If I don’t succeed in this task, I’m a total failure.”
  • Mental filtering. You see only negatives and dwell on them, distorting your view of a person or situation. For example, “I made a mistake on that report and now everyone will realize I’m not up to this job.”
  • Converting positives into negatives. You reject your achievements and other positive experiences by insisting that they don’t count. For example, “I only did well on that test because it was so easy.”
  • Jumping to negative conclusions. You reach a negative conclusion when little or no evidence supports it. For example, “My friend hasn’t replied to my email, so I must have done something to make her angry.”
  • Mistaking feelings for facts. You confuse feelings or beliefs with facts. For example, “I feel like a failure, so I must be a failure.”
  • Negative self-talk. You undervalue yourself, put yourself down or use self-deprecating humor. For example, “I don’t deserve anything better.”

4. Adjust your thoughts and beliefs

 

Now replace negative or inaccurate thoughts with accurate, constructive thoughts. Try these strategies:

  • Use hopeful statements. Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement. Instead of thinking your presentation won’t go well, try telling yourself things such as, “Even though it’s tough, I can handle this situation.”
  • Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes — and mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. They’re isolated moments in time. Tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.”
  • Avoid ‘should’ and ‘must’ statements. If you find that your thoughts are full of these words, you might be putting unreasonable demands on yourself — or on others. Removing these words from your thoughts can lead to more realistic expectations.
  • Focus on the positive. Think about the parts of your life that work well. Consider the skills you’ve used to cope with challenging situations.
  • Consider what you’ve learned. If it was a negative experience, what might you do differently the next time to create a more positive outcome?
  • Relabel upsetting thoughts. You don’t need to react negatively to negative thoughts. Instead, think of negative thoughts as signals to try new, healthy patterns. Ask yourself, “What can I think and do to make this less stressful?”
  • Encourage yourself. Give yourself credit for making positive changes. For example, “My presentation might not have been perfect, but my colleagues asked questions and remained engaged — which means that I accomplished my goal.”
 
 

You might also try these steps, based on acceptance and commitment therapy.

1. Identify troubling conditions or situations

 

Again, think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Once you’ve identified troubling situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them.

2. Step back from your thoughts

 

Repeat your negative thoughts many times or write them down in an unusual way, such as with your non-dominant hand. Imagine seeing your negative thoughts written on different objects. You might even sing a song about them in your mind.

These exercises can help you take a step back from thoughts and beliefs that are often automatic and observe them. Instead of trying to change your thoughts, distance yourself from your thoughts. Realize that they are nothing more or less than words.

 

3. Accept your thoughts

 

Instead of fighting, resisting or being overwhelmed by negative thoughts or feelings, accept them. You don’t have to like them, just allow yourself to feel them.

Negative thoughts don’t need to be controlled, changed or acted upon. Aim to lessen the power of your negative thoughts and their influence on your behavior.

 

These steps might seem awkward at first, but they’ll get easier with practice. As you begin to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self-esteem, you can counter them or change the way you think about them. This will help you accept your value as a person. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well-being are likely to soar.

In addition to these suggestions, try to remember on a daily basis that you’re worth special care. To that end, be sure to:

  • Take care of yourself. Follow good health guidelines. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Limit sweets, junk food, and animal fats.
  • Do things you enjoy. Start by making a list of things you like to do. Try to do something from that list every day.
  • Spend time with people who make you happy. Don’t waste time on people who don’t treat you well.
Awareness For February

Awareness For February

  • Boost Your Self-Esteem
  • Children’s Dental Health
  • Heart and Stroke
  • February 2 – Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • February 4- World Cancer Day
  • February 6 – International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
  • February 11 – World Day of the Sick
  • February 12 – Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • February 12 – Breast Implant Illness
  • February 14 – Congenital HeartDefect – (Canada)
  • February 15 – International Childhood Cancer Day
  • February 20 – World Day of Social Justice (Recognized by the UN) (International)
  • February 22 – National Heart Valve Disease (U.S.)
  • February 28 (29th in a leap year) – Rare Disease Day

Free Disability Awareness Calendar. Click the Calendar! Scroll down!

Disability and Loneliness

Disability and Loneliness

Over half of disabled people report feeling lonely. I am one of them. I left the work world in 2012 on disability. My condition continues to deteriorate and keeps me away from social interactions (pre-COVID 19), and family gatherings. Since COVID 19, things are worse. Totally quarantined due to a lowered immune system, my outings consist of only those pertaining to medical visits which are necessary and can’t be done via telehealth.

What friends I had have disappeared from my life. My current life revolves around the family members inside of my home. I miss out on anything fun or stimulating and if I could I probably wouldn’t enjoy myself for long. My stamina is low, and my pain levels are high. I know I am not alone. I would like to find a way to communicate with others with the same problems, but the online forums seem lonely as well as typing on a screen to a faceless “other person” seems fruitless. I don’t think I’d like it as much as I feel I would some days, and fear I’d start and never go back. The connections are too meaningless and most people only want to complain. I do enough of that myself.

Lost friendships are a painful reminder of what my illness has cost. It hurts to feel lonely. Creating a blog that no one cares to read-only makes me feel lonelier. I know there are ways to combat loneliness. I can increase family ties or find new friends. I deserve to remain connected to those I love. By reaching out, thinking ahead, and recognizing my needs, perhaps I can find happiness and a greater sense of social connection again.

 

June is Awareness Month for PTSD

June is Awareness Month for PTSD

June is an awareness month for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). 

According to the National Center for PTSD, there are currently about 8 million people in the United States alone with PTSD. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs after a person has experienced some sort of severe traumatic event in life. Despite what you may think, this is not a rare occurrence, with around 7 or 8 people out of 100 experiencing it during their lifetime.

The Mayo Clinic groups symptoms into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. These symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.

Awareness Month for Headaches and Migraines

Headaches vs. Migraines

If you’ve ever experienced a headache, you know how painful and bothersome they can be.

There’s a really good article about the difference between headaches and migraines on Healthline.

Watch this video to see the difference between a tension headache and a migraine:

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June is Awareness Month for Cataracts

What are Cataracts?

There are four distinct types of cataracts, Age-related, Congenital, Secondary, and Traumatic.

Cataracts cause blurry, cloudy vision and may occur in adults over the age of 60, called age-related cataracts.

Infection, injury, or poor development may cause an unborn child to develop cataracts in the mother’s uterus, and these are congenital cataracts. These may also form in childhood from the same reasoning.

A person with another medical condition, like diabetes, can cause secondary cataracts. Persons taking corticosteroids, or diuretic medications can also develop secondary cataracts. Other ways are being around toxins, ultraviolet light, and radiation.

There is no way to actually prevent cataracts. , The treatments would be prescription glasses or contacts, followed by prescription medication or both, and finally, if these treatments don’t work, surgery.

Watch this short video where a doctor explains cataracts and their treatment.

Tourette’s Syndrome – 12 Common Motor Tics

Tourette’s Syndrome – 12 Common Motor Tics

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the 12 common motor tics seen in Tourette Syndrome:

  • Eye Blinking
  • Head jerking
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Eye darting
  • Nose twitching
  • Mouth movements
  • Touching or Smelling objects
  • Repeating observed movements
  • Stepping in a certain pattern
  • Obscene gesturing
  • Bending or twisting
  • Hopping

To learn more about Tic Disorders in Tourette’s Syndrome, watch this short video.

June is Antiphospholipid Syndrome Month

June is Antiphospholipid Syndrome Month

Both my daughter and her oldest daughter have APS, Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome. Both have experienced miscarriages. Don’t know anything at all about APS? Check out this simple video to get your questions answered.

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