5 Ways to Empower People with Disabilities

5 Ways to Empower People with Disabilities

A disability means impairment of a function of the body or mind. If a person has a disability, it becomes difficult to perform certain activities, leading to societal limitations, among other difficulties.

A study reported that even today, people with disabilities feel lonelier, get less social support and face social isolation at very high rates. Even though the situation is better compared to the past few decades, there’s still a long way to go.

A successful environment is one where everybody, disabled or able-bodied, gets an equal and fair opportunity. Our responsibility is to empower marginalized communities and change how they are perceived and treated. Empowerment means being able to influence the world, taking control, making decisions, and taking an active part in life.

Here are five ways we can empower and encourage people with disabilities, so they can find confidence and pride in their identity.

Be Supportive

This is the first step to empowering people with disabilities. The point to ponder is that they require our empathy, not sympathy. Understand them and be supportive of them. Fight for their rights, volunteer, donate to relevant organizations, and show up for their cause.

Real empowerment lies in supporting their decisions and leading the way to help implement them. Even if the only thing you can do is just stand by their side; do it. Your support can make all the difference.

Join them in their fight for justice. For example, if someone you know is fighting a legal battle, such as filing a CP lawsuit in case of medical negligence in their child’s delivery, support them, go to court meetings with them, and provide any assistance you can. Being supportive and understanding goes a long way.

Educate Yourself:

You can be an ally for people with disabilities by educating yourself about different disabilities. Not all disabilities are the same, thus learning about their impact on a person will help you understand and respond to individual needs.

Every disability is different; thus, people with different disabilities have different demands and levels of independence. By educating yourself, you empower the other person by showing you care about understanding their needs. You can create a more supportive environment according to that person’s needs. You show them you have an interest in learning about them.

Ask Before Helping

While assisting people with disabilities can be critical, always ask for consent. You may feel the need to respond to certain acts, but there’s a fine line between genuinely showing concern to help them and being condescending and undermining their resilience. Empower by asking rather than assuming.

People with disabilities can navigate their environment just like able-bodied people. You imposing your help without asking draws unnecessary attention to their disability.

When you see a person with a disability, say a person in a wheelchair, do not automatically assume they will need your assistance. Give them space, and if you see they are struggling with a task, ask politely if they need help. If they say they do, help them; if they say they don’t, don’t take it personal.

Empowering them doesn’t imply doing things for them; it means helping them learn and grow in a safe environment.

Be Inclusive

While many organizations have been demanding equal rights and inclusivity for people with disabilities from authorities at political levels, decision-making levels, workplaces, it’s also important to use this philosophy at an individual level to become more inclusive in daily life.

Say, you are having a party at your place and one of your guests uses a wheelchair or has problems walking, have you thought of making your place wheelchair friendly? Or, if one of the guests is blind, is there someone to navigate them around the house?

Disabilities aren’t always visible, as they can be psychological or physiological. Your friends might be extremely sensitive to loud music, have chronic pain, or struggling with an eating disorder?

Be inclusive at the individual level; by paying attention and listening to their stories. Try to make every place and occasion as inclusive as possible. When people know you cater to their needs, it empowers them.

See the Person, Not the Disability

When you see a person with a disability, don’t make everything about their health issues. People with disabilities are just like able-bodied people; they have dreams, passions, likes, dislikes, opinions, fears, jokes, and stories. They are so much more than their health problems.

Be careful with your words. Inclusive language makes a tremendous difference in not only their lives but also in your perspective.

Refrain from asking awkward personal questions. Instead of making every conversation about their disability to make them feel included, ask about their dreams and passions to empower them and learn about the person behind the disability, support them, and listen to them.

Conclusion

People with disabilities are equally productive and passionate as able-bodied people. When empowered, they can achieve any dream and inspire millions. We need to support them and be an ally in this fight for empowerment and inclusivity.

Emma Aaron

Having completed my Bachelor’s degree in medicine and currently pursuing a house job at a well-reputed hospital in California, I decided to utilize my spare time in sharing knowledge with others through my blog. Apart from my time spent in the medical field, I love to read fiction novels and go on long drives.

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