Let’s Get Physical - Living a fulfilled life with a disability
WHAT'S IN A CHALLENGE?
Cripple, oneie, retarded, mute and invalid are some names used to describe members of the disabled community. As the global community accepts members of the disabled community and creates structures that foster inclusion, the most important of all actions is how we refer to these special persons.
The more socially accepted phrases used for the disabled are, for example, the challenged and wheelchair user.
In Jamaica, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) uses the term persons with disabilities (PWDs) to refer to persons living with a disability.
According to the JCPD, a PWD includes a person who has a long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which may hinder his/her full and effective participation in society, on an equal basis with other persons.
A disability may also be short term and can also be chronic, which means it worsens over time. The JCPD suggests that in order to ensure that PWDs live a fulfilling life, it is essential to remove the barriers to proper healthcare, education and employment.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISABILITIES?
- Physical disability: This is a disability that may result in mobility issues and may or may not result in being restricted to a wheelchair or using a walking aid, such as a cane or walker.
- Vision disability
- Hearing disability
- Psychological: This is a disability that speaks to mood or personality disorders and may be long or short term.
This list of disabilities is not exhaustive and you may contact JCPD for more information.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT YOU HAVE A DISABILITY?
- Seek professional advice to properly diagnose the issues you are experiencing.
You may visit a medical doctor who can help guide you in answering questions you may have.
- Contact the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities and speak with one of the social workers present, who can help guide you on next steps.
- Once it has been established that you are a PWD, register with the JCPD as a PWD to ensure you are accounted for and educated on benefits and options available.
- Ensure you eat a balanced diet as you will need all your energy to deal with routine daily activities
- Ensure you get exercise in whatever form you can without hurting yourself. Speak to your doctor before engaging in activities.
- Ensure you create a spiritual balance. Some persons go to church while others meditate or do yoga. Whatever activity brings you spiritual balance, engage yourself with a view of being balanced.
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"A challenge is a terrible thing to waste."