If an alien landed on our earth tomorrow and read the Americans with Disabilities Act they might imagine a different scenario to what life is really like.
As much as society talks about making things equal, if you are one of the many disabled living in America you will know that day-to-day for us is very different to able-bodied people.
Getting on with things is a struggle if you must also navigate a disability.
Self care is beneficial in helping smooth the bumps along the journey but therapy aid is vital. There is little scope for expending energy on activities that hinder our well-being, instead, everything we do must be about making living with a disability easier.
Ideas for self care are a-plenty, and my top picks are listed in this article below, but first, let me explain to you why you need a therapist when you have a disability.
A term that refers to a huge spectrum of impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions.The World Health Organization (WHO) describes ‘disability’ as …
“An impairment is classed as a problem in body function or structure. An activity limitation is something that causes difficulties when undertaking a task or action. While participation restriction causes difficulties when undertaking day-to-day tasks.”The World Health Organization (WHO)
And diving into some of those sub-categories:
With nearly one in five of Americans classed as disabled, you’d expect life to be better set up to manage our additional needs. If you are in a wheelchair trying to navigate doorways, sidewalks or busy spaces is a nightmare.
People suffering from mental disabilities or overstimulation of their senses really struggle in places like supermarkets, shopping malls, train stations, where there are bright lights and many sudden, loud sudden noises.
To be honest, those places can be overbearing for any able-bodied person, so I cannot imagine what it is like if a flashing light causes your mind to go into overdrive.
Tokens, such as the green/red man and beeping sound at pedestrian crossings are of course useful to someone visually or hearing-impaired, but all this is really not enough to make life easy.
Venturing out of home with a disability is a trying and tiring process. I have lots of ideas for self care, that help me stay focused, make getting around easier, but regular therapy aid is a super important aspect to my daily mix of staying happy, fit and feeling well.
Therapy aid is usually sought out because the person has come against a brick wall in terms of dealing with a problem alone. You might have explored all avenues you, your family and friends can think of, but sometimes only an expert can guide you through trickier episodes.
Therapy aid covers a variety of disciplines – you may want mental support or perhaps physical treatment. Unlocking a barrier with therapy can kickstart your self care program again too, giving you a new lease of energy.
How therapy aid can help with mental issues
As I have explained, managing a disability can put a lot of strain on a person. Having someone else to talk to during times of depression, confusion and pain is a must, in my opinion.
Professionals give a completely different slant to things – they are emotionally detached and have the perspective of having seen multiple different cases and can share advice accordingly.
Good Therapy is a site that gives a good overview of therapy aid for disabilities. It also lets you browse by location, helping you find someone in your area.
How therapy aid can help with physical issues
Physical therapy is designed to help patients regain or learn the ability to function in the world around them.
You don’t necessarily have to have had a major physical trauma to benefit from physical therapy; sometimes it is about regaining confidence that is the desired outcome. Usually, some sort of physical improvement is the end goal too though and your therapist will devise the best plan for your situation.
The conditions physical therapy are great for include:
- Neurological disabilities
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Fatigue or general pain
What self care is
As I said, self care is important too. Self care is the process by which you take the best care you can of your own body and soul.
Unfortunately, when you have a disability you spend a lot of energy on dealing with the nuances thrown up by being different to what society is set up for and managing the side effects and illnesses of being disabled.
You, therefore, don’t want to waste time and effort on things that don’t add value to your life. And if introducing a few ‘ways of working’ make you mentally and physically stronger, that’s surely got to be a good thing?
I have worked my way through a long list of ideas for self care. The ones that stick – the ones I keep doing day in and day out – are the ones that are fun or give me an enormous amount of benefit.
At first, I found incorporating most of these exercises and changes a pain because I was so used to being able to run around and keep up with the busy world I was living in.
It took me a while (and an incredible amount of soul searching and support from loved ones) to realize that I could no longer do the sprint of the able-bodied young adult I had once been.
I wasn’t ready to hide away at home though, so devised a set of guidelines for how to continue being part of my previous life as much as I could.
Managing self care in a busy world is a brilliant outline of how to do this, with tips and tricks to make living with a disability a lot easier.
Ideas for self care
If you know little about self care it can sound daunting, this mega new thing to learn. But that is where you are wrong!
Self care can be about the big things (house renovations, new medication, etc.) but it is mostly about small tweaks to your life that, compounded, result in a measurable benefit to your well being.
It’s a big subject, and I have written a few articles on the matter – start here if you are interested in learning more: What is Self Care and Why Should You Care?, Mental Self Care and How to Love Life or How to Practice Self Care While Travelling.
How to get funding to help with a disability
Even if you are one of the lucky ones to have decent medical cover, you are still very unlikely to be able to meet the financial drain disability causes. I’m not even talking about all the nice-to-haves.
In my case there were all the medical tests, consultant appointments, travel costs to get to the various hospitals, medication, but then also massive modifications to my home to accommodate my physical needs (wider doorways, lifts, specialist furniture, etc.) as well as changes in diet, needing more expensive ingredients to what I would normally buy and therapy aid to make life bearable (both physical and mental).
The nice-to-haves have been things like having a decent laptop to let me engage with the outside world. The toilet riser – yep, you laugh! – but being able to more easily go to the bathroom without someone else’s help has given me back a little self-esteem. Regular external help, so that my family doesn’t feel so burdened.
Getting my life back on track after the diagnosis of ALS took a long time. Things are obviously totally different to before but I feel in so much a better place now that I have good therapy aid, my self care plan, and other aspects in place.
It was a shock though and if I can help anyone else in a similar situation I would dearly like to do so. Have a read of my blog Getting Organised after a Major Diagnosis; this could save you a lot of the struggle I went through.
Back to the discussion around being able to pay for being disabled – yep, it feels like that sometimes! Two of my closest friends set up a crowdfunding campaign to help with this.
You don’t want to feel like a charity case but costs began to spiral and the stress on my family was immense. I couldn’t have done this without them. You can see the whole campaign here.
So, I have done a lot of the groundwork for you, but here’s how to set up your own GoFundMe page. Plow your efforts into creating brilliant activities people will be happy and excited to contribute to. You will have a distraction to get on with and in return, you will get support without feeling like you are just a charity case. Win-win!
It goes without saying that no matter how long you have had your disability, or whether it is obvious or invisible, no one wants to be pitied.
What I do want is to be able to laugh about the silly things, make the struggles seem smaller than they really are. I want to help you through the really tough stuff so you can live the best life you can!
It’s your turn to take the first step in improving your life. Before you go, I want you to do two things:
1. Sign up for my newsletter – Because you don’t want to miss what’s coming next.
2. And tell me in the comments below what your first step will be in improving your life!