Dear Guests, I stand before you today to speak about the important subject of disability. A common definition of disability is:
“A physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities”.
In the U.S. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone,
‘who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
The term, ‘disability’ covers a vast range of physical and mental impairments which differentiates the inflicted person from an able bodied or able minded person. As civilizations modernized through larger populations and the spread of religions, the disabled became better looked after. Whatever the impairment, today in modern societies there are legal provisions to help disabled people outside of family support.
The affects of disability on a person can differ depending on the affliction. Some disabled people are born with a physical disability and require care all of their lives. Some people become disabled later in life and require more and more care as the disability worsens. The impact on a family can be financially and emotionally hard so support from society is very important in helping disabled people and their families.
In modern societies, financial support is made available to help the disabled. These can be wide-ranging including financial support, tax credits, including benefits, payments, grants, and concessions. In the UK disabled people can receive:
- Universal Credit
- Attendance Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
They can also benefit from financial help with VAT relief, Armed forces compensation, and help with vehicle and transportation costs. A disabled person can also receive ‘Constant care allowance’ which will help cover costs if the person is in need of care around the clock.
In the UK disabled people are protected in the workplace. Laws are in place to protect disabled people from discrimination from employers.
The Equality Act 2010 protects disabled people and covers areas including pay and promotion. Under the law it is the duty of the employer also to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to the working environment so the disabled employee can work to the best of his or her ability. A good example for this would be the lowering of desk height for wheelchair users or adapted keyboards for blind workers. Another good example would be the adjustment of work hours so the employee can attend medical care sessions.
Redundancy for the Disabled
Modern societies insist that disabled people are not discriminated against when it comes to choosing an employee for redundancy. A disabled person should not be selected simply because of his or her’s disability.
Home and Housing
If you are disabled in many countries you can apply for a grant to make your home suitable for living in, depending on your disability. This could entail the lowering of tables and making doors user friendly for wheelchair users.
We have covered how society may help the disabled. Now is the time to talk of great disabled people who have made a mark on mankind despite their handicap.
Stephen William Hawking was a was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who studied at and become a director of research at the University of Cambridge. In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with an early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease. Despite the loss of speech and most of his muscle use he was a groundbreaking scientist who excelled at exploring the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
Stevie Wonder was a blind musician who recorded more than 30 American top ten hits, including universally known hits: “Superstition,” “Sir Duke”, and “I Just Called to Say I Love You.”
Helen Keller was a blind and deaf politician. Her teacher helped develop a language she could understand. Helen wrote 12 published books. campaigned robustly for women’s rights and other labor rights, and was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
These are just a few disabled heroes.
According to The US National library of Medicine mental effects from becoming disabled can be severe:
It has long been recognized that people who become severely disabled go through two stages (denial, mourning) before adjusting to their disability. Negative aspects of these stages, such as dependence and hostility, are viewed as logical outcomes within a society.”
Disabilities can be so harsh, that too many families, their own disabled relative is a hero so please take time to listen and spend time with a disabled person, understand them for just like you and me we all need friends.