For those that do not know, I recently started college PHYSICALLY, which is a huge deal for me as I’ve been homeschooled through my whole high school career. During my first course, I got to write a report on any social issue and present it to the class. Nobody truly understands the social issues, us with impairments or injuries, struggle with almost daily. Therefore, I decided to write and share my report on people with physical disabilities. These problems are big and deserve to be resolved so here’s my outlook.
Social Issue report on: People with Physical Disabilities
In today’s society, people with disabilities are often treated much differently than healthy individuals. As a disabled individual myself, I have firsthand been a witness and victim to this issue. I have a rare degenerative neuromuscular disorder/disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia. Having a major health issue such as this causes Florida insurance rates to rise. This has been a particular issue with auto insurance. According to npr.org, “Countries should guarantee people with disabilities the right to the highest possible standard of health without discrimination.” When strangers encounter someone who is impaired, there are often a variety of reactions. They may stare distinctly at us or even treat us like we aren’t human beings just like everyone else. Sometimes they whisper to each other, thinking that we cannot hear or see them. It is human nature to have curiosity, but this can be rude.
First off, the public needs to learn proper etiquette when seeing a person with ailments or injuries so they can understand how to better interact with us. My health issue is physical, not mental, and yet I notice that people like me often endure stares and whispers, which really takes an emotional toll and I don’t think people understand that. I serve as a FARA Ambassador for my disease/disorder, to help newly diagnosed kids/adults go through the major emotional toll the diagnosis takes on them. I also help them achieve a better mindset when entering society publicly and work towards changing society’s negative attitudes/behaviors. Finally, I spread awareness to help raise money towards a cure.
Another issue I have noticed as a member of the disabled community is that many people with this specific disability or other impairments are in wheelchairs and require ramps when driving or going somewhere. Often, ramps are broken and/or crumbling, and it tends to be very hard going up one in a wheelchair, especially if you’re alone and no one can help push the chair. This leads me to another social issue, public restroom stalls for the physically disabled. Perfectly healthy individuals use the stall for a bigger space when using the bathroom instead of thinking that someone with an incapacity may actually need it.
Employment is also an issue for people with physical problems. Many businesses may not want to hire us because we can’t do the things that normal people can do. “Only 18 percent of 193 constitutions guarantee the right of people with disabilities to work” (as stated on npr.org) which is a big problem for us, as we need to make money for our medications, health tests, insurance, housing, food, etc. If jobs are really hard to get, then it will be very hard to stay as healthy as possible. Today, this world revolves around money and you need money for almost everything you do, particularly as a person with a disability.
In summary, society today needs to learn how to help the physically disabled instead of just pushing us to the side. There shouldn’t be discrimination or additional limitations for us. We need to be given the opportunity to perform to the best to our abilities and not always be reminded of the disabilities we did NOT wish to have in the first place. Knowing all of these issues exist in society, I am motivated to become a better advocate for people like me so that these issues can begin to be resolved. We are normal people, just with some abnormalities and society needs to realize that and help us out.
As you can see, we tend to suffer from some major issues such as: employment struggles, how people approach others with disabilities, disabled bathrooms, and some others that I may not have included in my paper as they were not top priority. Hopefully soon, these problems will be resolved somehow, someday. Thank you for reading!
~ Olivia 🙂