People with Disabilities.

People with disabilities should be judged as individuals and not merely on being disabled.

By: Lynda Appell.

I have a disability myself. I am being treated for a mood disorder, plus I have a learning disability. Last I was diagnosed about five years ago with Adult ADD. So I suppose you could say I'm an adult. So this is also a personal essay.  I discovered many aspects of the world of people with disabilities. The most important fact in my humble opinion,  I learned that disabled people don't want people feeling sorry for them. At least the persons I discovered on the net definitely do not pity themselves. They emphasize the positive, the things they can do. In other words the disABILITY. The HandiCAPABLE. Instead of whining on what one can't do, these people concentrate on what they can. They also stress the importance of rights for people with disabilities and self-empowerment. There's a say in the disability rights movement. "Nothing about us without us. That is disability professionals and those they serve need to work together. By this I mean disabled people must have their say in any policy, program, law that affects them. This includes people with developmental disabilities.
 
There is a local group where I live called "Speaking for Ourselves." It is an organization where the higher functioning mentally retarded can and do decide what is right for them in their community. People with psychiatric disabilities are included too. Unless someone is completely psychotic, people who are mentally ill are capable of making decisions. At the very least they should be listened to by mental health professionals, families and not presumed they don't know how to handle their situations. I work in an agency for such persons and most, if not all are perfectly able to decide for themselves. They also like to be as independent as possible. They are also all individuals. They are people with disabilities. That is they are people first. Their disability is just one part of them. The issues of independent living, inclusion, mainstreaming are ones that can't be compromised. Independent Living is living in the community as independently as possible. That is without assistance. Inclusion is being involved in one's community. Mainstreaming is being as much a part of the community as any person who is not disabled is. Even if a person is severely disabled that person has the right to be able to do whatever they can do. Anybody, everybody should be able to contribute and do as much as they are capable of. That is how I feel about my disability. My conditions do not define me who I am.

They are some of many facets that make up Lynda Appell This is of course, true of anyone and every one who has a disability. Of course this goes for everyone in the world People with a disability for the most part, do not want to be seen as just their disability but as having abilities as well. After all people with disabilities are and should be seen as individuals and their disability should NOT be the sole defining factor of anyone. Bottom line, Be emphasizing the positive. I have been a disabled disability activist for over 12 years. Mostly for my local Community Support Program. CSP helps disabled persons access local services so they can be as independent as possible. Also involved with Artistsfor Recovery.

Sent in by Lynda Appell Philla PA. USA

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