Out of the nearly 70 million families in the United States, 20 million contain a member with some sort of disability. Being disabled has social, psychological, political and economic impacts, which can greatly effect how a person living with a disability experiences and copes with life. Some of these impacts are explained below.
While a disability can cause a family to experience more closeness and love, it can also bring about negativity, such as discord between parents, which can be passed on to the children. Couples with disabled children are more prone to tension and divorce due to the challenges involved in dealing with a disability. One parent may be forced to stay at home full-time with a disabled child, causing a large drop in household income. A disabled parent may not have the energy to take care of a children or a home in a proper manner.
Having a disability doubles the risk of living in poverty. This occurs because disabled people often have a difficult time finding paid work, despite the Americans with Disabilities Act that was created to protect them. It is estimated that 14 percent of people living with a disability are forced into poverty and often find the road back financial stability to be steep and difficult. Living in poverty also brings a stigma and bias from society that is hard to overcome.
Many people with disabilities experience social isolation and feeling as though they do not fit into the mainstream. This isolation can be experienced within the family, with students at school or with colleagues in the place of work. While much of the social exlusion is based on societal misperceptions regarding disabled people, it can sometimes occur because the person with the disability pushes others away due to not feeling good about themselves. Those who have communication problems linked to a particular disability can find being social nearly impossible and may choose to discontinue reaching out rather than experience continued rejection and misunderstanding.
Lack of Access
As there is still a great deal of bias in society toward people with disabilities, many find they do not have equal access to education, jobs and social events. While efforts have been made to improve this situation, the end result is disabled people find themselves placed in services that keep them segregated from the non-disabled population. This does not benefit disabled people nor does it eradicate prevailing attitudes toward disability in general.
People living with disabilities do not make up the majority of the population, but they are an important part of it that often goes unnoticed. In order to improve life for both disabled people and society as a whole, work must be done to eliminate the common stereotypes and misconceptions that prevent people with disabilities from experiencing a balanced life.