Facing the real worldFor most of us high school is the time of our lives. We get to see our friends everyday, 3 months off during the year, and the only thing we have to worry about is homework and if our crush likes us back. Being a teenager, it is only natural to focus on the things that make you happy, but did anyone ever stop to think about the other types of kids in high school? The ones who struggled or had it more difficult than everyone else. Not many people think much about it, so don’t feel bad. Having a disability means a lot of things and while you’re in school you can receive special education tailored to the specific disability. This is really great… until you wonder what happens after they are no longer in the school system. The reality is, this special education doesn’t help them prepare for adulthood or living on their own after high school. After they exceed the age limit, which in most states is 22, a lot of people lose their support services. For example, the service could be their pediatric therapies are terminated.
What happens next?After high school the average person will either go to college or go straight to working. Then, they will proceed on with their normal lives. But, For people with disabilities it’s not so simple. In 2014, a poll was taken of people 25 and older to determine the percentage of people with disabilities who have completed at least a bachelor’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics only 16.4% received a bachelor’s degree. After that, 25.5% received some college or an associate’s degree, 36.8% received a high school diploma and no college, and 21.3% received less than a high school education. These percentages are extremely low compared to the average person. This makes it more than difficult for these young adults to find jobs, or even live an independent lifestyle. Not to mention that on top of their daily struggles they go through the constant discrimination, dirty looks, and feeling as if they’re slowing the people around them down. Could you imagine what that life is even like?
A life of independenceYou may now be wondering how someone with a disability could manage any sense of in-dependency. It’s not easy and sometimes, not possible. There are numerous reasons on top of being under-prepared by education on why it is incredibly difficult for someone to live on their own. These reasons could be that the family member or caregiver simply lacks the easily accessible comprehensive up-to-date resources, options and possibilities. Or, something that is out of their control would be that the funding is extremely scarce. It could also be something as simple as the person has spent too much time with their caregiver or family member. This is extremely typical because someone with a disability doesn’t have personal control of access to transportation or personal assistance. This also results in them having no experience in a social life, making it extremely difficult for someone to pursue a friendship or relationship. In spite of that, listed below are just a few options for a disabled person to begin living independently.
- Speak to your physician about local support groups
- Seek employment or volunteer opportunities
- Practice good health and nutrition/ remain active
- Join in on community activities
- Caring for a pet