Coping With Disabilities Part 2

Coping with Disabilities:

It has taken me a while to be ready to post this for good reason. There is much to talk about in dealing with Coping. However, I have decided that Part 2 will only be a continuation of Part 1. Then I will add Part 3 on steps of Coping that not only will apply to the disabled but to everyone.

Part 2 Adults: They need to be checked on frequently!

I will address all information from my own experience. My comments will come from those experiences of not only what I saw but myself had to deal with.

How does an Adult Cope with a Disability.

First, it starts with education and knowing everything you can about the disability from onset. Unfortunately, what usually happens is children are protected until they leave school. Once they are no longer in school and face the adult world; they may not know what is available to them and no one looks out for them any longer. Now after years of protection they are expected to fit into a society that they do not understand. In reality we do not prepare Disabled Adults for Adult Life. This leads to many problems in adjustment.

1. Emotions – families have to learn to prepare the individual for long-term living in an adult world. Medications frequently need monitoring for their emotional effects. Fear and lack of understanding are often apparent in a disabled adult. Counseling may be helpful to become independent. People who don’t understand or are uncomfortable around disabled people can have a roller coaster ride effect on and individual especially in work and social settings.

2. Acceptance – reality check time. Will the disabled adult function normally in an adult world being able to work and live independently in society? Have they learned to accept their own weaknesses and strengths? Have they been educated about their disability? Have they accepted who they are? Are they able to help others to accept who they are and make them comfortable?

3. Support – Have they been informed about the agencies that are there to assist them so that they can live as independently as possible? Have they learned to work with a variety of people? Have they learned to challenge themselves and work and live to their fullest ability independently?

4. Home – Will they continue to need home supervision, a legal guardian, what long time arrangements will be made for them? Do they want to live in an apartment or a home? What will happen to them when the extended family is gone?

5. Development – unfortunately this usually stops when they leave school however, it shouldn’t . There are adult programs available that they need to continue to be involved in. They need to participate in groups where they are comfortable. Many adults fit fine in normal everyday life. However, there is a population that doesn’t. They are usually the developmentally delayed or the physically handicapped. They need to have adult social activities. Social acceptance for all disabled adults is very important not only for good mental health but for physical health.

6. Discipline – with love. If they require supervision they will still require guidelines, and discipline. This is where support groups can take much stress away from the family. Remember just because they are no longer in school the problems don’t disappear. This is also a time when many families don’t want to learn to let go. It is much easier to do so if you start with a group home or assisted living. It is very important to wean them from the family as soon as possible for normal adult living. It is also a time that it is very important that they have learned the law rules and they must obey the law. If they understand that early on it prevents many problems. However, for a many it is good to carry an idea card stating their handicapping condition for police officers, especially those who are deaf or unable to speak, but not limited to that population. Contact numbers should be on that card for assistance.

7. Recreation – it is very important that they learn how to have quality personal time to reduce stress and have relaxation for good mental health. Local churches and various organizations provide many activities where they can go and participate safely.

8. Education – Education is never-ending. Remember to keep them involved. The mind needs to be active. You get what you expect. If a Disabled Adult knows you don’t believe in them then they will have no expectations. Therefore doing nothing. However, to believe is to receive. When you believe in a disabled person they will give it there all. They are good workers so hire them. They are loyal for the most part. However, they need to have life’s experiences don’t give them a free ride because of their disability.

9. Normal – “What is Normal does anyone know? However, the more normal the daily routine is the more a disabled adult fits in to positive coping skills of his/her own disability. This is very important to independent living. In today’s world it is stressful enough without having daily changes. Routines reduce stress, lower, confusion and create a safe productive environment.

10. Participation –The adult disabled needs to continue to be in activities – now there are many activities that involve the disabled. Learn what is available in your community. Skiing is expensive but bowling is inexpensive and enjoyable. Are their social gatherings? Many churches have adult social activities that they can participate in. They need to feel connected to a group. The more connected they feel the less likely for depression. There are special Olympics for adults that they can continue to participate in.  They also make great volunteers, mentors, coaches etc. Give them a chance to excel at what they can be beneficial at.

11. Different – every one is different. Take that attitude. Everyone has a disability whether it’s diabetes, allergies, vision, or whatever. When the world starts to accept the fact that everyone has a problem and there isn’t any such thing as normal it becomes easier to cope with. However, once a disabled child reaches adulthood they start to realize how different they really are. It is vital that they have goals and direction in their lives. It is vital that they understand it is okay to be different even when others don’t understand. As long as they understand and have a good attitude about themselves it doesn’t matter.

This is a time in their live when they will need to have a supportive team around them. This may include family members, church members, community members,  job and agency workers.

12. Financial – there are many agencies working with the adult disabled. Education and knowledge of these agencies is vital for independence. A good place to start is with Vocational Rehabilitation. Health and Welfare also has a listening of everything available. Make sure that Medical information and Prescriptions will be taken care of for long-term. This is an area where they can be defeated if not covered.  Do your homework find out what is happening. Make sure a life insurance policy was bought when they were a child.

13. Independence – For those who have been independent as a child going through school this independence is very important. However, it will change and they do need to be involved in quality programs so they don’t have too much time on their hand.

Caution: Disabled are easy Prey! Even the smartest ones.

Cautions about using your handicap to just get by in today’s world.

1. Disability checks teach them to be dependent on income, not believe in themselves and learn to be unproductive.

2. Lack of work allows for time for problems, wandering the streets, drinking, renting inappropriate movies, etc.

3. Many become prey to street people. They need to be educated about whom to stay away from and not to trust at an early age. This needs to start at an early age.

4. Many disabled become homeless and end up abused because families do not take the time when they are young to prepare for the adult world.

5. Family members frequently spend their checks and leave them with nothing. Make sure a qualified trustee handles their disability income.

6. Medications: know what the side effects are. Many cause depression and have suicidal effects. Also make sure they are being administered correctly.

7. Legal issues are necessary in many cases to protect the disabled person. Legal guardianship, trustee for financial care etc.

8. Schools don’t prepare for the adult world. Families must take on that responsibility along with the community. Just because you have graduated from school doesn’t mean you are ready for the “REAL WORLD!”

9. Life is harsh and coping requires, strength, education, and love.

10. Lack of a foundation will crumble the strongest walls. Make sure a foundation that can survive has been built.

Working with disabled students and adults taught me to set goals for ten years down the road not for today. Where do you see this person in ten years?

One must learn to be prepared for changes that come and be able to adapt. This is not easy for the handicapped or disabled person. However, you can never be sure what laws will change what will happen with Social Security, Medicaid or Medicare, and Insurance. Be prepared for the worst and pray for the best.

Here’s to Adult Coping with a Disability. They still need connection. Check on them frequently and let them know someone cares.

Remember not every Disability is Visable! Sometimes the worst Disability in the world is a hidden one. Life they neighbor as thine own. Treat each other the way you would want to be treated.

Most of all give respect and dignity to everyone all of the time.

Until next time when I present Part 3 Coping with Life .

Remember I am not a doctor, a counselor or a psychiatrist, physiologist.

I am a retired teacher with a disability who wants to share what she has learned in her own life.

“If I can help but one person than I have been a success.” ~~~~~~~ Janice N. Richards

Have a great day. I wish for each and every one of you many blessings.


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