Reintegration

Despite being a social construct, inclusion has to occur because right now it is the only way for people with disabilities to be included in society. Laws and polices provide protections and rules society has to follow in regards to treatment and inclusion. Advocates work to raise awareness and enforce inclusion. Physical acts of inclusion incorporate people with disabilities into the workforce, education, etc.

A key component is shifting societies perceptions and attitudes and acting on it. It is difficult to convince people that inclusion is necessary because disabled people are excluded due to poor societal perceptions and attitudes. People have to confront their own biases, prejudices, etc. This includes not just “normal” people, but many disabled people who have the same view/attitude or think there is no problem or its minimal.

People often practice inclusion out of pity or social obligation. The individual with a disability is still seen as “pitiable and pathetic”. The disabled individual is included because of useful skills. Being inclusive only because of usefulness is nothing more than using the person for personal gains. Inclusion should not occur out of pity or social obligation nor just because the person has useful skills. Even so, this type of inclusion may be the only chance the person has to participate in society.

At the core, it is not excluding people with disabilities in the first place. It is recognizing people with disabilities are a a part of society from the start. Each and every individual has worth and contributes to society.

Reintegration should occur because people with disabilities are human and have intrinsic value like everyone else. Society has a long way to go to become truly integrated.

 

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Disability Inclusion

Disability inclusion is the action of including people with disabilities into everyday activities. It is achieved through practices and polices that identify and remove barriers to full participation in society.

“Normal” people construct society which consists of social behaviors, rules/laws, cultural practices, etc. Everyone starts out as a part of society then based on social constructs some people are excluded. Therefore, inclusion is a way to include people who have been excluded from society. People do not think about whether to include or exclude “normal” people. So, why do we have to include or exclude people with disabilities?

Exclusion and inclusion is a social construct that some people are not a part of society. People are excluded from society based on social perceptions and attitudes towards certain people. People with disabilities are excluded from society because they are seen as less than, undesirable, etc. Inclusion is necessary to counteract the poor perceptions and attitudes towards disabled people. The physical acts of exclusion and inclusion (ie. work discrimination, mainstreaming) are based on the social construct of inclusion and exclusion. The physical acts of inclusion are used to counteract the physical acts of exclusion.

We all live on this planet together. Everyone is a part of society. Any act of inclusion and exclusion is based on social constructs stemming from perceptions and attitudes towards certain people.

 

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Long Term Illness

Being sick and having a disbility is often a terrible combination. The “bug” and disability feed off each other. When you are really or sick for a long time, it is even worse. The interaction with the disability becomes debilitating. 

I have been sick the last 10 weeks with five infections. It has been very difficult to function. The sensory hypersensitivity is even more intense. It takes little input to go into sensory overload. The processing issues are more frequent and problematic. It has gotton to the point, I can barely process information. The social anxiety is more intense. I can barely handle social interaction. I am forgetful due to extreme fatigue. I already have short term memory recall issues. It has gotten bad enough I am taking a leave of absence from work and may be dropping my grad class. 

When people with disabilities are sick, support them. Remember, a typical illness may be much worse for them. Do not compare your experiences with theirs. (ie. I’ve been really sick too.) 

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Embodiment and Disability 

Embodiment is the tangible representation of a idea or concept such as disability. It is taking the socio-cultural concept of disability and giving it tangible form such as emotions, thoughts, and abilities. It is how society’s view of disability and people’s experiences and perspective shape who they are. For example, how stigma shapes a person’s ability to interact with the world socially or how depression shapes perceptions of self and the world. It is using disability to express oneself or to communicate something. For example, an artist using his mouth to paint because he is an amputee. It is understanding the concept of disability from the perspective of lived experience as in the disabled person’s emotions, ability, and thoughts. It is changing your views and how you interact based on their lived experience. For example, asking questions and clarifying instead of forcing a person with a speech impairment to repeat themselves.

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Voices

I started this blog to express myself, raise awareness, and provide resources on disability. More importantly it is meant to give people with disabilities a voice. Since the start of the new administration, people with disabilities and many other marginalized groups have endured so much. It is in times of turmoil the socially marginalized are forgotten. Their voices need to be heard.  I am one voice of many. Together we are stronger. Together we cannot be ignored.

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All for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall. ~ Alexandre Dumas

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Emotional Connection 

My current course has had a tremendous impact on me. The class has been very open and accepting of each other. It has allowed me to express myself without fear of stigma. The class has helped to restore some of my faith in humanity.

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Blog Update

I am taking a break from the blog for a undetermined amount of time. I need to focus on grad school and work. Thank you for your interest in my blog. 

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Future America

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As we come closer to the swearing in of Trump, people’s fears are skyrocketing. Trump has voiced negative opinions and intentions to oppress and persecute minority groups. It is unknown whether those statements were true or simply a method to get more votes. Even so the fear is real. Many are scared for their lives and those they hold dear. I am scared for myself and many family and friends that are minorities. Even so, no one knows what is to come. Whatever the future may hold, we will face it together.

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First Grad Class

My first semester (introductory class) of grad school is over. It was exhausting and an eye opening experience. I learned so much about disability history, stigma, and rights among other topics. I read countless journal article and book chapters that taught me so much. I wrote countless discussion posts that expanded my mind. 

Writing is the one area I still really struggle with. I did countless discussion posts, three essays, several writing assignments, a fieldwork report, and final research paper. My writing skills have improved. My ability to process information in regards to writing improved. The film analysis paper required me to modify my writing style. I had to create a new writing style for the data analysis paper. 

The fieldwork project was my first one. I struggled to figure it out but my professor was great help. I had to do a project that involved people with disabilities in the form of interviews or a survey. My first project was the impact of life skills–life, emotional, social, physical, intellectual–on life outcomes for students with disabilities in elementary school. The project did not work out because the interviews were taking too long. I had to create a new proposal, do the project, and write the report one week before it was due. The new project was the impact of stigma on people with disabilities in relation to visibility and disclosure. I have never worked so hard, pushed myself so much for an assignment. I learned so much and grew in many ways. Despite all the trouble, the project turned out great or as the professor said, outstanding job. 

The last three weeks of the semster were emotionally exausting. I was overwhelmed and struggling to cope. I was dragging myself through each day dreading the mental breakdown I knew was coming. I have a mental breakdown 3 or 4 times every year due to dealing with my disability and related stigma. Even so, I know I will overcome and come out stronger. 

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