Monday, March 27th, 2023
by Bethany Eggers MA
March is Disability Awareness Month. Whether it be someone in a neighboring community or someone living in your home, we all know someone who is personally impacted by disability. Up to 1 in 4 (26%) adults in the United States have some type of disability. Broken down it comes out to 11.1% of disabilities being mobility, 10.9% cognitive, 6.4% independent living, 5.7% hearing, 4.9% vision and 3% self-care.
Two people with the same type of disability can be affected in very different ways. Many disabilities may be hidden or not easy to see. Adults with disabilities report experiencing frequent mental distress almost five times as often as adults without disabilities.
Disability inclusion means understanding the relationship between the way people function and how they participate in society, and making sure everybody has the same opportunities to participate in every aspect of life to the best of their abilities and desires. Disability impacts all of us. Whether you fall into the category of a person with a disability or a person without a disability, your abilities to experience and participate in this world matter. Every human has a desire for acceptance, connection and relationships.
In a recent blog I discovered an important message that a parent taught her child from an early age. Her message was simple - “accept the power of being noticed; invite the questions that are undeniably there and make time for conversation. Be the bridge; Grow the conversation.”
Here is what Zelda Mycroft shared about her daughter and her experience:
Although a wheelchair does not define who you are it is often what people look at first, before eyes travel up to see the person. And there are always questions in the eyes. Adults smile or look away and questions are left on answered, respecting the need to be PC insensitive. Children are gloriously unaware of the need and their questions don’t linger in their eyes; they seem to go directly from their brains to their lips. And then there- in public- urging an answer from somebody. Such an honest approach that has the potential to demystify; depending on whether who and how the questions are answered. The worst possible scenario is shushing the curious kid and having them never know the answer to their burning questions. And the best person to provide an answer is the person about whom the question is posed. We encourage Chaeli to embrace her “celebrity” status of being unique, being visible and using this attention to open up the world of those who wanted to chat because if you take enough time to start and hold a conversation you never know the magical places this conversation may lead.
This was a beautiful message of awareness. At all four of our locations - River Counseling Services in Platte, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Stronghold Counseling Services in Sioux Falls and in Yankton, our mission is this - We meet you where you are, offering hope. You may schedule an appointment at the Platte office at 605-337-3444 or meet with one of our Sioux Falls or Yankton based therapists from your computer, smartphone, or in person at any of our clinics. To schedule an appointment, please call 605-334-2696.