Do you have a disability? Do you know someone with a disability? Maybe you work with someone living with a disability. Or maybe you know someone who doesn’t understand what having a disability means. We often have misconceptions about other people’s knowledge, skills, and abilities, especially those of people with disabilities. How can we change this?
Becoming aware of how a disability impacts an individual’s quality of life can help better understand common misconceptions that we innately have. Understanding that people may have a mental disability and no one ever know it due to it being invisible. We often know someone has a disability based on their physical appearance, which is not always a good indicator of their abilities. I want to provide you with a different view of people with disabilities because it is not what they can’t do but what they CAN do. The word CAN also implies to what we can do in our communities to make our environment more accessible to those with disabilities. We all can contribute to change and can help remove barriers that prevent someone with a disability from being successful.
Did you know we have laws that protect people with disabilities!?! Passed by Congress in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. Please visit the ADA website to find out more information on the law and how it protect individuals with disabilities. Knowing this might help you or someone you know protect themselves from possibly losing their job if they could prevent it with accommodations.
What is an Accommodation!? A convenient arrangement; a settlement or compromise. Many people worry that if they have an accommodation that they will lose their job, but in reality it helps keep your job, and it helps you work more efficiently. When we are faced with barriers, accommodation can help reduce or eliminate them. I encourage you to check out the Job Accomodation Network, ASK JAN. This website provides you with a list of accommodations based on the type of disability. Utilize this information to help you become more aware of what protections are available for people with disabilities.
As a counselor, I work with people with disabilities that are experiencing struggles with retaining employment, getting a job, Depression, Anxiety, and transitions in their life that they might not have experienced before. Counselors work to provide an accessible space that meets that client’s needs and provide them with resources to help reach the best outcomes possible. If you or someone you know is experiencing barriers due to a disability, I encourage you to seek out rehabilitation counseling. Rehabilitation counselors assist people with physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, and emotional disabilities to achieve their personal, career, and independent-living goals.
Joey Tapia, LPC Intern is a trilingual therapist (English, Spanish, American Sign) who provides Rehabilition and other types of Counseling at the CCD Denton office.