In 1992, the United Nations announces the observance of International day of Persons with disabilities (December 3rd). The was done to try and promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in their political, social, economic and cultural life. So let us use today to learn a little bit more about what a disability is and how we can help this population as Social Workers!
What is a disability?
A disability is any physical, mental, cognitive or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person‘s ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or to participate in typical daily activities and interactions. Some of these disabilities include hearing impairments, visual impairments, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD, being wheelchair bound, and much more!
And remember that a disability is not always permanent! For example, if you undergo a medical procedure and are wheelchair bound for a couple months, that is a disability!
How prevalent are disabilities?
Take a look at this infographic created by the CDC that shows the prevalence of disabilities in the United States!
What can we do as Social Workers?
As Social workers, it is our job to help connect these individuals with the services and resources they need. Whether it is a home health aide, a respite provider, or a financial case manager to assist with their Social Security. We serve this population in schools, hospitals, community mental health agencies and so much more!
There are 3 focus areas when working with persons with disabilities:
Connecting them to services needed (housing, medical services, social groups, etc.).
Helping them understand the financial assistance options available to them (this includes things like Food Stamps & Social Security).
Serving them as an advocate within the community to ensure they are being treated equally and are provided the opportunities to lead full lives.