Earlier this month I assembled a presentation for Social Workers at a nearby Veteran Affairs Medical Center on Disability Culture and working with individuals with disabilities. The feedback received indicated that the Social Work staff viewed the information as valuable, recognizing a gap in their professional knowledge. This excites me on many levels, especially since these peers of mine serve disabled Veterans on a daily basis.
Throughout Blind Not Alone, information on disabilities, life with a disability, and disability rights appears on every page, post. Rather than writing on these topics for this post, below are some of the reference materials and resources that speaks to many of these items and are the same ones used during the previously mentioned presentation.
Additional Resources and Reference Materials for Understanding disabilities
Kubler Ross’ Stages of loss displays great efficacy for understanding various forms of grieving and loss, outside of death and dying. This essay examines the myriad of loss following a disability. the development of a disability like age related sight loss to a heart attack often forces adults to reexamine various aspects of their lives from family roles to employment. The end result is an individual facing many uncertain futures within their entire biological, psychological, social, and spiritual identities of self.
Developed by a Marine and Sexologist, the Warrior Intimacy Institute is a leading advocate, researcher, and source for information related to assisting injured Service Members and Veterans regain this part of life. For far too long, sex, intimacy, and sexual relationships has received little attention by most healthcare providers. This resource will help one frame useful interventions and strategies to at least address these topics.
A moving editorial from the New York Times about common social, societal, religious, and interpersonal reasons why people view blindness with apprehension, fear, or pity. None of these emotions convey a positive image as it relates to blindness, and it often creates an insurmountable barrier in the rehab and acceptance process.
Don’t Pity Us Handicap
This article from the Saturday Evening Post from the late 1950’s was written by General Melvin Maas, a decorated and esteemed WWII General and politician who became blind and remained in the military. This captivating view from General Maas shows how possible it is for a member of this generation to accept blindness on their own terms. Understanding this is crucial for healthcare professionals who wish to aid the Greatest Generation address age related disabilities.
Only once a healthcare professional understands the above references, might they begin to acknowledge the presence of a disability culture. This article goes into further detail about how various disabilities possess their own rules, characteristics, and behaviors like every other culture. The disability culture stems from research and the gaining popularity of disability pride, affirmative or social models of disabilities, and other efforts originating from the civil rights movements that emphasizes disablement resides within external factors, like physical barriers or prejudices.
Keep in mind that this is just a very small sample of resources and information pertaining to disabilities. Many other websites, books, research articles, editorials, and other sources of information should be consulted for further information. Receiving information from one source only provides you with the author’s or organization’s biases and perceptions on the subject.
Blindness is being stuck so far into your own thinking that you cannot even fathom another’s view point.