Acceptance Without Question

Shannon Hines provides another inside scoop series on acceptance


Graphic by Bernice Tang

Being accepted without question in the disabled community means that people should not question people with disabilities for the way we handle daily life. Like anyone else in society, we have hopes and dreams – having a fulfilling job, going to school to get an education, interacting with various friends and family and living a life to be proud of. Does this seem familiar? That’s because most people want to have a successful life.

The hope is for people with disabilities to be allowed to be involved in the job force, have an education and be a part of the community despite some differences. The mental or physical disability does not define people. It inspires us to go that extra mile in order to be accepted and achieve our goals and dreams in life.

One crucial component when communicating with people with disabilities is for people to be open to getting to know the disabled population. Although some disabilities may make communication difficult, do not count them out. We all have our own ways to communicate with others.

As people learn more about how people with disabilities communicate, understanding and communicating with them will become easier. Taking the time to learn more about people with disabilities will make them happy to gain friendships outside the disabled community. Everyone can learn from each other if people are willing to take the next step.

Getting a good education after high school can be difficult, but it is not impossible as there are different options to get through education.

Here at Mt. SAC, helpful resources are offered for students with disabilities, such as the IMPACT program. Students can take life skills classes and prepare for credit classes if they choose to do so. The program promotes independent living and employment skills alongside free classes.

The other option includes accommodations in credit classes for assistance in both in person and online classes. Some accommodations include extra testing time, note takers, recording lectures and getting adaptive furniture for extra room at desks. For more information, visit Mt. SAC’s Accessibility Resource Centers for Students.

Various community colleges should have a program to assist students with disabilities and help them fulfill their educational goals. Acceptance in educational classes gives students with disabilities a chance to be a part of the class experience.

If there is a group project, give the student with a disability the opportunity to pick a task to get the project done. Some students can handle a certain task better than others, but be open to their comfort level regarding assignments. Students with disabilities have various interests, and they just might need extra support to fulfill the class requirements.

In the employment world, it can be a struggle to get a job. When a person with a disability tries for a job of their choice, they have to work two to three times harder to secure that job. Many employers may not be educated in the law or may doubt the potential employee’s ability to get the job done itself. As disabled adults, we have to prove our abilities and qualifications because there might be doubt in the interviewer’s perception.

There should be more protocols to require further education about people with disabilities. Educating people in the workforce about people with disabilities will allow employers to learn that people with disabilities are worth hiring.

Getting a paycheck does make a difference. It lets them know that they can do and buy basic things for daily living. Purchasing their own items without asking parents or caregivers for money is part of being independent and living a successful life.

People with disabilities crave to have the opportunity in the employment field that people without disabilities are given. Hopefully employers will be more accepting of education on this and will be open minded towards having employees with a disability. These employees can show you what skills and tasks he or she can accomplish.

Our daily life is not too much different from others. We get up, get ready for the day, either go to our activity, go home to relax, eat dinner, wind down for bed and go to sleep. We live life to the fullest. We are surrounded by support and love. We have hobbies and interests that assist us in finding our passions in life. We do have some struggles during but through self-advocacy skills and support, we can make struggles into successful turnarounds.

Our disability does not define our lives.

People with disabilities just need some extra support to accomplish our goals and dreams. Please do not look at our appearance and feel sorry for those in a wheelchair, walker or having a different walk. People with disabilities do not need any pity put on us. We need acceptance of us as individuals. We just want to stand out as normal people living life like anyone else.

Please be a part of the conversation and email me at [email protected] for any topic ideas and feedback. Thank you for your time and interest in my series.