Advocacy is important for the disabled community because it can help educate people without our conditions so disabled people face less discrimination. It also can teach others without our conditions the realities of it because you won’t get that from your doctor! Advocating is important because some disabilities The only people that I see generally advocating for a chronic condition is disabled people and sometimes their families. I don’t think people intentionally don’t advocate because they don’t want to but have the wrong idea of what it means to advocate and think it’s all done publicly. Writing a Facebook post about someone’s disability is good but if you only do that one-time chances are you are not going to reach that many people and it will be forgotten a month from now. Advocacy is not something you do once but to make a difference you have to do it regularly. Publicly talking about your disability will help spread awareness but not everyone is comfortable putting themselves out there and that’s okay because there are other ways you can help. How can help disabled people spread awareness about their health so more people know? In this post, I talk about a few ways you can disabled people advocate for their conditions so more people know the truth about living with a disability!
Share posts from disabled writers– Abled people without a disability may have more medical knowledge than actual disabled people because we don’t care to know but disabled people know more about living with it than any abled person ever will. . Abled people without a disability cannot provide any insight on what it’s like to live with it because they have not personally experienced or are even able to bust disability myths accurately. There are a lot of disability myths that people spread because they think they are true and they have no one telling they aren’t. If you are not comfortable sharing your story online or talking about another disability publicly that is okay because you don’t have to and all you have to do is share a post from a disabled writer that is totally find with sharing their story on the Internet. We do all the work for you and all we need from our readers is shares because without shares no one will know we exist and we will basically be talking to ourselves. Social media is a great way for advocates to spread awareness about their disability but we can’t do it alone because advocacy is a team effort and without shares, no one will know we exist so we are basically talking to ourselves. Share our posts to your own social media or include us in your story because that’s all it takes to bring more awareness to a disability and educate more people. Advocates generally appreciate sharing as long as your giving them the proper credit and not plagiarizing or claiming information as your own.
Educate people you know-We all have that one person in our life that thinks they are a disability expert because they know someone who is disabled and see all the challenges we go through on a daily basis. I have a lot of family members that have a lot of medical knowledge of my disability but even though you can give me a better science lesson I would not call you an expert because you are not disabled and there will be things that you won’t find in a medical textbook and will never fully understand unless you experienced it. Advocating for your disability can be hard because disabled people often are the only ones doing it and all abled people do is spread lies that they think are true but aren’t. Talk about disability with your coworkers to see how much they know and if they say something about a disabled person that you know is incorrect then correct them. It may seem small but that is not how I see it and to me, it’s one less lie they will tell someone else. You can’t control what your friends are saying about disabled people when you are not there but you can control what you say and correct them when it’s wrong because one lie will lead to two and before you know it nothing is true. It is hurtful towards the disabled community when abled people spread lies about us because then people have this very wrong view of what it’s like to be disabled. Be nice about when correcting people because even disabled people slip up sometimes and no one likes that person who thinks they know everything.
Call out inaccessibility-I volunteered in a hospital that you would think would be pretty accessible but it wasn’t and to use an accessible bathroom I had to go to a different building every time I had to pee. It wasn’t a huge deal because I was only there once a week for about three hours but it was still an inconvenience that should have been dealt with. I made them aware of it but nothing was done during the time I was there so it didn’t make me want to stay longer. Most businesses are inaccessible in some way and are only about as accessible as the ADA tells them which in my experience is not very accessible to most disabilities. I expect businesses to be inaccessible to some extent but if it’s so bad that a wheelchair user can’t even function at the front desk without crashing into something I will call them out on it so they have the opportunity to improve. Business owners need to be aware that wheelchair users will enter your business and need more room to navigate your store. Some business owners don’t care about being accessible and will not change no matter how many times you tell them they should but some people do care and just aren’t aware of the fact that their business is difficult for the disabled community. You can’t make people change but even if you aren’t an advocate you can do your part and make businesses aware that their current environment is dangerous for disabled people.
Start a blog or YouTube channel- It’s important to educate families if you have a family relative that is disabled because it can help people be more aware so they least try to make your life easier. Talking about your disability with just your family will help educate that person so you don’t face as much discrimination but it usually won’t go much farther than that. Who would I be if I didn’t suggest blogging or starting a YouTube channel to spread awareness? If you are comfortable sharing your story online it’s a great way to spread awareness because you can educate your families that may not know that much about your condition and thousands of other people that you will probably never meet becuase they are not in the same country as you. I have family members that know a lot about my condition but I also have friends and family that I wouldn’t say know a whole lot about my disability except what I write in blog posts. I don’t always bring up my disability in conversation because disabled people don’t constantly want to be talking about their challenges or are even comfortable talking about certain issues with family members. Disabled people are not obligated to talk about every single medical issue they have had even if it’s within their own family and we deserve to have a little privacy like everyone else. Blogs and YouTube channels are great because it allows advocates to share what they want their families to know about their conditions and leave out what is not their business.
Help a disabled person cross the street-Some disabled people have a lot of physical challenges and need more to do everyday tasks but sometimes you don’t struggle physically and you have more visual challenges. If you see a disabled person struggling to open a door or is having difficulty crossing the street it can never hurt to ask if they need help. Some disabled people are blind and cannot see anything so they may need an extra pair of eyes to be able to cross the street safely. Always ask before you start doing something because there is nothing disabled people hate more than when abled people assume we can’t do something and just start doing it for us. You are not being helpful when you won’t take no for an answer and absolutely insist that we need help but are actually taking away the little independence someone may have. Helping a disabled person do small tasks may not seem like it’s that helpful but from a disabled person’s perspective it’s extremely helpful because without assistance we couldn’t do certain things.
Start a fundraiser– Some conditions like breast cancer are very well known and get a lot of awareness and funds towards finding a cure but not all disabilities do get the same amount of awareness. There are a lot of debilitating conditions like migraine disease that you may have heard of but often is misunderstood and doesn’t get a lot of funds towards finding a cure. Start a fundraiser and raise money to help these organizations have more funds to put into finding a cure because some disabilities need it. Some disabled people need assistive devices to function but can’t afford one and their insurance won’t cover so they will have to go somewhere to get it cheap. Donating money to an organization may not all go towards a cure but it may give a disabled person the resources they need to make their home more accessible. Make sure that the organization you are donating to is a reputable organization becuase not all organizations will have the right values and will do something good with the money you donated. It would be a real bummer if you donated somewhere that was selfish and didn’t have good value but all they wanted was your money.
There are a lot of conditions that get tons of awareness becuase they are very well-known but there are also so many painful conditions that don’t get hardly any awareness and people don’t even know these disabilities exist which is sad to me because no one should have to live with a forgotten disability. All disabilities could use a little more awareness because you can never have too much and it’s important that we teach society what it’s like to be disabled instead of letting them have their own versions of what they think it’s like. The problem with disability awareness is that the only people talking about their disability is actual disabled people and sometimes their families so it’s really hard to change the way people think about the disabled community when the only ones advocating are people affected by it. Advocacy doesn’t end after you make one Facebook post but you have to consistently do it to make a difference because there will always be that one person who is not educated or needs support to accept their disability. Putting yourself online will help more people than you ever would have imagined but it’s not the only way to spread awareness and there are so many other ways that don’t involve an Internet connection. Talk about it and don’t spread myths about disabled people that aren’t true because as soon as you do that you’re just as bad as the rest of society. What are you doing to spread awareness for disability and chronic illness? If you have any other ideas on how society can better spread awareness for disabled people please leave them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other!
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