Did you know that more than 61 million people in the US live with some type of disability? While not all are entirely dependent on others, many people have difficulty managing what we consider to be simple daily tasks, such as dressing, eating, bathing, running errands, or regularly attending doctor’s appointments.
Organizations like Independent Living Association strive to make life more enriching for the Individuals in our care, providing services and programs designed to help elevate the lived experience according to each person’s capabilities. Our day habilitation programs, pre-vocational training, community integration, and residential services provide continuous opportunities for Individuals to lead fulfilling lives – opportunities that all of us should never take for granted.
If you’ve ever wondered what you can do to enhance the lives of people with disabilities, here are a few ways that you can contribute.
Improving Lives for People with Disabilities: How You Can Help
Simple gestures, such as helping someone with a door, offering a friendly greeting, or accommodating an individual’s needs in the workplace are just some of the ways you can make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
Here are some ideas to inspire you.
Speak Clearly and Be a Good Listener
When communicating with an individual with a developmental disability, be sure to enunciate and to speak clearly and directly in case of hearing loss, low vision, or cognitive challenges. Similarly, listen closely when they speak to you.
If someone has an attendant, focus on the individual more than their aide or interpreter. Doing so will reiterate the message that what they say and do matters!
If you are speaking to someone who requires the use of a wheelchair, try to position yourself in the best way possible to maintain proper eye contact while you converse.
Provide Critical Accommodations in the Workplace
One of the greatest barriers to inclusion in the working world is the lack of accommodations for people with disabilities. Such oversights can lead to frustration and low self-esteem and may prevent people from achieving their full potential.
Employers must ensure that all staff have what they need to do their job. Ask your disabled employees what they need to help them excel and feel comfortable. When you invite them to a meeting, take the time to ensure that the location is accessible and that the right technology is available to them so they can fully participate. When you receive a request for help, ask for detailed instructions and do your best to follow them.
Be Kind, Be Flexible
Kindness and empathy are always welcome no matter what the setting. Exuding positivity and light will help to lift people’s spirits and instill good feelings that will carry through their day. Life is not always easy for people with disabilities, so the smallest gestures of kindness can go a long way and can be highly beneficial to your happiness as well.
To learn more about ILA or find out how you can get involved, reach out today.