Last week I spoke on a strictly medical point-of-view with
For this week’s post I thought I would highlight the need for integration and awareness, for a cause so important to me: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Canada.
Q: Do you think that its more important to emphasize medical treatment, life skills, community integration, or a combination of these things?
A: I am a big fan of not choosing one thing. In this case, just one won’t cut it.
Of course physical health is important. Any medical treatment that is required should not be ignored, whether through denial or fear.
In my case, eye doctors were vital when my remaining vision was in question and in danger.
Yet, there is so much more to the picture than eye health. Life skills and community integration are things that can not be ignored, or suffering and isolation follow.
I can’t express enough how vital my parents were in these elements. Once the medical condition of blindness was established it was time to get on with the business of living.
I do for myself as much as I can and those skills were taught to me as a child, as they were for any other.
Community integration brings me back to the start of this post.
Of course nothing is yet easy and simple. It is important to feel like you are a part of something bigger, community is that something. I know a lot of the work of integrating people with disabilities is still needed.
Nowhere is this as clear as in employment. We are not yet at a place where the numbers of people with disabilities, especially visual impairment, are high, integrated into the community and working alongside.
Integration can be a big and daunting word, for everyone. Both sides need to be able to communicate and play their part, if there is to be any real success. There needs to be an effort put forth by all involved.
My blindness doesn’t have to impede everything. There are certain jobs I could perform very well, if given the chance. This is really only possible because I was once taught many life skills others take for granted and don’t really think about.
The integration is then required to complete the process.
Medical treatment, life skills, and community integration are accomplished, for people with disabilities, in steps, one building on the other until the person is as well-off and well-adjusted as possible.
For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, go
And next week on the
Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,
What are some significant moments/events in your life that connect to disability?
I am betting I will have a lot to say for that one.