A disability-friendly community asks its citizens to become creative problem-solvers. If some of us have a problem, we all have a problem. When we solve it for some, we can solve it for all. Disability Dialog is your invitation to weigh-in on key topics, and offer your ideas and/or suggestions for solutions—the more creative the better!
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Schools at all levels should have lectures and discussions about how the media portrays various groups of people - including but not limited to people with disabilities. These should also include analysis discussion of how the media portrays career success, relationship success, beauty etc. Is it ever possible that people with disabilities are or feel stigmatized for not doing things that aren't realistic for anyone? These discussion groups could be started people young people with disabilities and recruit LGBT youth, those who feel bullied, girls struggling with pressure to be beautiful, etc, and thereby create integration and relationships.
There is always so much emphasis on accepting differences and making it ok not to be normal. I sometimes think it might help people with disabilities if we made it ok again TO BE normal (as in, ordinary, not extraordinary). As someone whose disabilities were invisible, I was often accused of being too lazy or afraid to be extraordinary, which I was presumed capable of being. Maybe if we didn't hype extra-ordinariness so much for the non-disabled young people, those with disabilities wouldn't feel as stigmatized for achieving less. Also, educators and other mentors need to understand that people with many kinds of DD have challenges with problem-solving, organizing and multi-tasking, and transitioning from one activity to another, and in many cases, a reduced capacity. These are often the barriers to the level of achievement that they seem like they would be capable of based on their intellect. People trying to be encouraging focus on telling the person to have more confidence, take risks, etc. And these are usually not the problems.
We should have some program of educating the universities about the high-functioning, academically-talented people on the autism spectrum - whether it's trainings, or one-on-one meetings with such individuals. People with certain kinds of autism /Asperger's do well in certain academic work, and so they get accepted to colleges, and then the college professors and others at the colleges (in my experience) don't quite get that there's a disability in play. They respond to any mention of someone's barriers and challenge areas with "You can learn that." Sometimes accommodations are refused because the college thinks it's something they can learn (i.e., they're not allowed to record lectures because "you have to learn to pay attention.) I went to a college in a small town, but the career counselors assumed everyone was capable of moving everywhere to take a job. If you explained some of the problems you had with life skills, getting around and learning a new place, and being safe, the response was something like, "You need to be more of a risk-taker." Someone can be successful academically and still not have some of the common sense, safety, and life skills that it takes to safely move far away from home, and this becomes a problem if the jobs that you do best aren't around your area. I envision kind of a "support exchange program" with other cities - like exchange programs for people who want to study in other countries. A family in another city who has someone with that same disability supporting someone who has moved there for an internship or entry-level job.
Parents often have to get over their own ableism and not be ashamed to encourage their kids to use the legal right to accommodations.
Parents should explain to their children why another child looks or acts different than they do, rather than just letting them stare and wonder.
2015 National Autism Indicators Report
2015 National Autism Indicators Report