Developmental Disabilities

What are developmental disabilities? How do developmental disabilities develop? Who is usually affected with developmental disabilities? How do we treat developmental disabilities? What are the different types of developmental disabilities? Are developmental disabilities curable? Read on to find the answers to your questions about developmental disabilities.

Source: defense.gov

Counseling individuals with developmental disabilities – e.g., autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and Down syndrome – is honestly tough. Your clients are mostly kids who acquired the neurological disorder from birth or several years after that. They have not lived long enough to identify how to think and behave like regular people. Developmental disabilities are attributable to a cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or both. These developmental disabilities manifest during the developmental period from birth to early adulthood, and are likely to continue indefinitely,” explains Clarissa Kripke, M.D. of the University of California. It may even be easier to get through to depressed or addicted folks as they at least lived a life without developmental disabilities in the past.

It does not help either that most – if not all – developmental disabilities are incurable. It’s hard to decide if that is because the developmental disabilities are too complex to resolve or there’s only a little research being done on those developmental disabilities. The outcome is that the children who have the developmental disabilities mentioned above usually need to stay on therapy for years. “If you are looking for a way to make an important contribution to the services available in your town or city or you have been searching for a niche to help you stand out from the professional crowd, consider learning how to tailor therapy to this unique and rewarding population,” notes licensed psychologist Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.

Nonetheless, in case you are new at giving counseling to someone with developmental disabilities, check out the following tips.

Source: defense.gov
  1. Earn Their Trust

The unfortunate truth about individuals with developmental disabilities who are older than five years old is that they may have been exposed to the world. That cannot produce a positive impact on the person with developmental disabilities all the time because they get to deal with the harsh comments from other people, no matter how much their family tries to protect them from their developmental disabilities. Some gaze at them pitifully because of their developmental disabilities; others are inconsiderate enough to talk about their developmental disabilities openly.

The thing is, whether the developmental disabilities altered someone’s brain function or not, he or she can still realize at one point that strangers see them differently because of their developmental disabilities. It may enable them to retreat under their shell and not want to even be around mental health professionals like you. Because of that, you ought to earn their trust first.

The easiest way to do that is by not pushing the client to do the activities you laid out for their developmental disabilities. It will not be the only meeting you’ll have, and perhaps he or she can become comfortable around you the more you stay in their life. You may also learn about their favorites so that it can be like a conversation starter between the two of you instead of starting right away with their developmental disabilities.

  1. Assess Non-Verbal Cues

When someone has developmental disabilities, it entails that he or she has problems using his or her senses or body parts regularly. For instance, the twinkling lights that look fun for non-disabled people are triggering for folks with developmental disabilities such as autism. Walking is practically impossible for patients with developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Others have developmental disabilities with their speech, behavior, and deduction process.

Even if the individual refuses or cannot speak, an excellent counselor should be able to understand the client with developmental disabilities by assessing their body language. Say, in case a patient who has never looked up when you tell a story suddenly meets your eyes, that is a sign that you got their attention. Once a child with special needs tries the activities you suggest to them, it means that the treatment is slowly but surely working.

  1. Tailor The Treatment For Each Client

You can obtain better results as well if you make every activity or discussion relatable for your clients with developmental disabilities. However, you need to ensure that the technique you will employ is custom-fit to each person’s developmental disabilities. “That may mean revising a worksheet to meet their unique needs or explaining the same concept 10 different ways until it’s clear,” says Rose Reif, LPC, CRC, QDDP. “Whether it’s challenging their client on a cognitive distortion, or assigning homework, or engaging in a role-playing session, I think many counselors are afraid that they will somehow hurt or confuse their client if they try to introduce new skills or ideas.”

Remember that you will never get two people who have the same case of developmental disabilities, despite their condition being under one category. They are different when it comes to the severity of the developmental disabilities, their age, the trigger factors, and many more. So it is only proper to plan how the treatment should go for a specific client with developmental disabilities after a couple of sessions, not right after the first consultation.

Source: defense.gov

When you give counseling to someone with developmental disabilities, give it with confidence. The guidance you can offer to clients is essential for improving their lives with developmental disabilities and their future. It is impossible not to know how to do with all developmental disabilities, primarily now that you have these basic tips.

Good luck!

5 Signs That Your Disability Already Turned You Into A Depressed Person

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When a loved one comes to you one day and admits that he or she suffers from depression, your instincts won’t make you ask why or judge the person at once. You will want to assure him or her first that your support is endless, that you do not doubt their capacity to overcome the mental disorder. Then, you keep your phone charged all the time, just in case your beloved calls at an odd hour due to emergency reasons. You got no plans to abandon him or her, to say the least.

Now, this scenario can become a little twisted if you find yourself in that loved one’s position because of a newly acquired disability. You might try to continue doing the tasks that used to be easy peasy for you, although they are already impossible for you to do. It is effortless to show a tough façade in front of your colleagues, even if you honestly don’t feel like talking to anyone. You can do that and more to avoid making others – as well as yourself – see that you are leaning towards the depression alley.

” In an instant our life is forever changed. When unexpected life events result in substantial physical impairment, the personal results can be devastating,” writes Katie Doppelheuer MA, LGPC.

As admirable as your conviction is, however, you need to accept that you have this mental disorder immediately. That is the key to start the healing process. In case you still can’t, reading the following signs may help you admit to yourself that you indeed have depression.

Source: pixabay.com
  1. Your Jolly Personality Is Gone

A quick indication that the disability affected your disposition in life is the decrease or lack of cheerfulness in the way you move or talk. Whereas you tend to yell “Hello, friend!” 20 meters away from your buddy, you barely greet anyone now. You may smile out of courtesy sometimes, but the typical grin that reaches the eyes is nowhere to be seen.

  1. You Cannot Focus On Anything

Depressed persons are not always sure about what they are doing as well. The boss may ask you to create copies of an important document, for instance, and then place them in separate folders. Although you go to the Xerox area, your mind flies in an instant, and you already forget how many file reproductions you are supposed to do. The result, of course, is that your work performance suffers.

  1. You Want To Stay Out Of Loved Ones’ Sight

When you have depression, it may feel better to isolate yourself from the world. Your goal is to let nobody – not even the people who genuinely care for your welfare – to see you go through this ordeal. Thus, you often come up with excuses every time your friends want to meet at a restaurant or your parents and siblings ask if they can visit your place.

  1. Your Anger Bubbles Over Quickly

The frustration over the unfortunate situation usually consumes disabled individuals like you, to the extent that you are quick to lose your temper. Your loved ones have to walk on eggshells around you all of a sudden, in fear of getting shouted at when they make a tiny noise. You cannot forgive accidental mistakes either, and you take any joke seriously.

“In the face of such challenging individuals, it’s tempting to believe that they are the perpetrators and we are the victims, or that they hold the power with their challenging behavior. Such attitudes, even if justified, are reactive and thus self-weakening,” writes Preston Ni M.S.B.A.

  1. You Feel Worthless

Lastly, with depression, you never consider yourself worthy of someone’s love and trust. You think that your position at work should go to any colleague whose limbs are all working well. You hardly speak with friends, no matter how much they reach out to you. In your head, these concerned folks contact you because they either pity your condition or are merely doing it for old times’ sake.

“No one is worthless. Our lives are all worth something. But feeling that you’re worthless, again, is a sign of serious depression: melancholia,” writes Edward Shorter Ph.D.

Source: pixabay.com

Can you picture yourself acting out some of the examples above? If so, you should accept that you have depression once and for all. It is in your system; it can only go away once you decide to deal with it. There’s no reason to conceal the truth, to be honest.You undoubtedly have family and friends who will always be there to help you overcome the mental disorder. Just let them in – allow them to support you – and everything will be well.

 

5 Ways To Live With Your Physical Disability

Source: pxhere.com

Learning to live with a physical disability requires so much effort and resolution. It is not easy to do things without all your five senses working, primarily when you were not born with this condition. If you cannot see, you need a guide dog or ask another human being to help you. If you cannot speak, it will be a challenge to express yourself to people who do not understand sign language. Furthermore, even though you know that you can hold a particular job as any fully-abled person, it might be uneasy to find a company that hires people with disability.

Nevertheless, your life should not stop revolving because of your physical condition. There are still different ways to live a full life despite having a debility.

 

Take Care Of Yourself

Admit it or not, knowing that you carry a disability on one part of your body tends to make you feel like your whole system has a problem. You refuse to eat or go to therapy because you believe that either activity cannot help you regain the senses you lost. You develop dangerous habits, thinking that you are already a total failure anyway. You waste your time asking yourself a lot of whys.

We cannot blame you for feeling as if the entire world is against you. It is not within our means as well to guarantee that your hardships will go away soon. Despite that, once you look after yourself and concentrate on building up other body parts that still function, you may not consider yourself as disabled as before.

“There’s no one size-fits-all formula. Key activities include lifestyle medicine, creative pursuits, hobbies, time with loved ones, and positive mental dialogue,” writes Kristen Lee Ed.D., LICSW

Source: pixabay.com

Think Of Your Strengths

Your situation may not seem so bleak once you remember your strengths. If we are honest, an unfortunate incident may rob you of one or two abilities, but it does not mean that you have no other skills to show. Stevie Wonders, after all, may not be able to see, yet he can sing and play music. Although Stephen Hawking could not talk or move, it did not stop him from teaching, writing, and discovering.

Only you can tell where your strengths lie. Nobody can look for them on your behalf since the talents are within you. It would be great if you let them come out by not stressing too much about your disability.

“Problems and upsetting emotions stick with us like glue. Strengths can help bring greater balance to this equation,” writes Ryan M. Niemiec Psy.D.

Accept Support

If you have seen movies in which the strong characters become disabled, you may have noticed that they react the same way. They want to detach themselves from the world. If a concerned loved one tries to get close, they push the helpers away, thinking that these folks merely feel pity for them.

The truth is that pity is not even among the reasons why genuine people offer their support to you. In case they happen to be close friends or family members, it is because they love you and want to see you with your head held up high again. If the help comes from an organization that you have never contacted before, it may be due to their belief in your existing work. Hence, you should not be ashamed of accepting the assistance that others are giving to you freely.

“By receiving with tender self-compassion, we’re allowing ourselves to be touched by life’s gifts,” writes John Amodeo Ph.D., MFT.

Remember Your Purpose In Life

When life gave you a disability, the dreams and hopes you’ve held on to probably went to the back of your mind. The light thoughts got replaced by dark, depressive ideas as you find yourself unable to do everything that used to be effortless for you. For instance, you are not supposed to drive once you become blind. You cannot leave your wheelchair after a leg amputation unless you obtain a prosthetic one.

No one who has not been in your position can gauge how difficult your situation is – that is true. However, when you finish grieving for what you lost, you should clear your head to remember what you have always wanted to achieve pre-disability. Taking note of your life’s purpose one more time, after all, may allow you to wipe your tears and move forward.

Source: defense.gov

Avoid Making Comparisons

The worst things that you can voice out go along the lines of: “Why can’t I function like other people?” “Why do I need to be in a wheelchair, while others can use their feet and legs to walk?” “I wish I can speak or see or hear like them.”

The reason why you can talk about these things is that you feel as if the individuals with no disability are better than you. You always compare what you can do to theirs. Does that give you peace of mind, though? No.

You have to take a break from comparing yourself to other people today. You are not different from everyone you see on the streets. While you’ve got flaws, it does not entail that those folks do not have body features that they avert. It just so happens that they avoid dwelling on their misgivings; that’s why it seems like they have a perfect life. That is something you should try instead of making comparisons all the time.

 

Luckily, the world is slowly but surely changing. Laws that give disabled individuals a better shot at earning money and living independently are being signed and passed. Sooner than later, the fine line that separated abled and disabled people may dissolve. You may then never need to worry about your physical disability.

6 Jobs That Are Perfect For Disabled Individuals

Source: defense.gov

If you meet a teenager whose legs got paralyzed or amputated as a result of an unfortunate accident, it may be tough to find the road to acceptance immediately. While his or her friends are worried about exams or after-school performances, he or she may need to stay in the sickbay or at home to recuperate. All their extracurricular activities have to be on hold for a while, and that means no slumber parties or hanging out in cool places during the weekends. Worse, the teen might have to take a break from school because of the disability and only graduate a year later than his or her friends.

With all these things happening at once, losing sight of the future seems effortless. You feel like you can’t do anything with your life now that you are stuck in a wheelchair. You don’t even know how you’ll be able to make money after reaching adulthood.

Well, if that’s what’s keeping you up every night, then you should relax now. We can think of six different jobs to share to you right now, and they are all perfect for disabled individuals. You may want to try one of them soon.

Source: wikimedia.org
  1. Customer Service Representative

If you are looking for an entry-level position at the moment, it may be an excellent decision to apply as a customer service representative. You will take calls from customers and help them get the answers they need. You merely have to speak through a headset and not be face-to-face with anyone. Even if you still haven’t finished your degree yet, you can enter the workforce.

  1. Market Research Analyst

Since more and more people wish to start a business of their own and leave their nine-to-five job, they need someone who can study and analyze the industry they are hoping to enter. Because of that, it will be a smart move to work towards becoming a market research analyst. The task does not necessitate you to move physically, after all. You only have to be excellent at solving problems, identifying the right target audience, and coming up with the best marketing strategies that a company can use.

  1. Accountant

In case you have always been good with numbers, you may want a career in accounting. You practically have to work on balance sheets and a computer when preparing financial documents and taxes, which entails that you won’t get exhausted physically. You can even work at a company or become self-employed – either choice will bring more income to your bank account no matter what.

  1. Teacher

For individuals whose passion is in sharing wisdom and knowledge, it may be best to become an educator. Schools do not discriminate when it comes to accepting teachers with physical disabilities. As long as you are effective at teaching, there’s no way for them not to hire you and treat you with fairness.

  1. Counselor

Considering you are born empathic, you may get a degree in Psychology and pursue a counseling career. This job will be perfect for you due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, you won’t have to be physically active to listen or offer advice to clients. Secondly, the fact that you got over your hurdles and can now provide psychological help to others is beyond inspiring.

  1. Entrepreneur

Lastly, if all other jobs fail, you can always become your own boss. It requires much work to manage a business, and you will be able to exercise your skills and show your creativity. The working hours will not be so crazy either since you can set it according to your liking. Who knows, the entrepreneurial venture might boom, and you won’t have to work for anyone else again.

Source: defense.gov

A Word Of Advice

The physical ability may stop you from dancing, walking, climbing or doing other things, but it can never prevent you from building your career. Although the process of reaching your dreams seems challenging now that you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you can make a path for yourself towards your goals. Everything is possible if you have willpower, intelligence, and mental strength, after all.

What An Adult With Physical Disability Truly Needs From You

Source: pxhere.com

After finding out that a loved one got into an accident that gave him or her a physical disability, you can’t help but feel pity immediately towards that person. “He or she was so close to fulfilling his or her dreams, and then this disaster happened,” you might say. Whenever you meet the disabled individual even years past the incident, therefore, you want to treat him or her with gentleness and not talk much about your successes to avoid making the person feel sorrier about his or her situation.

While you mean well, though, you fail to look at the possibility that maybe – just maybe – your loved one with a disability does not want the special attention. Perhaps the individual wishes that you look at him or her the same way you did before the accident to feel some normalcy. After all, it is already tough to deal with the fact that that individual can’t do many things now due to the physical condition. It can perform magic on his or her self-esteem if you give the following to the disabled person:

Source: army.mil

Encouragement

Someone whose world practically turned upside down because of one incident tends to experience an all-time low during this phase. Hence, to help the individual handle the matter better, you need to throw some words of encouragement here and there. Speak of the places you can visit together, for instance. Show him or her different hobbies to do. Also, always remind this person that the disability does not define his or her talents, so he or she should get moving.

“Encouragement can provide people with strength to look ahead, move forward, and reach for the next goal,” writes Julie J. Exline Ph.D.

Respect

“Respect honors the uniqueness of each person,” writes Arthur Dobrin D.S.W. You ought to understand that even somebody who cannot walk without crutches or function without a wheelchair wants to feel as if he or she is not entirely dependent on other people. That allows the fellow to have some control over his or her life. So, say, if he or she is trying to go to bed, it is not right to utter, “Wait for me. I will help you get on the matter.” Instead, it is more acceptable to let the individual know, “I am here if you need my help.” You get to prove that you respect his or her ideas by doing so.

Trust

After a couple of years of living with a disability, some folks gain enough strength and confidence to look for a job or at least deal with household chores. In case your initial reaction to this news is to tell the person to stay at home and chill, though, we are advising you against doing that now. Not only will it hurt the disabled fellow but it shows that you do not trust him or her, which can impede with the resurgence of his or her self-esteem.

Support

“Providing support to someone, while usually well-intentioned, can have negative consequences: it can make the person getting the support feel like they can’t do things on their own, it can make them feel guilty (for being a burden), and it can hurt their self-esteem,” writes Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton Ph.D.

Whatever your loved one with a disability wants to do, as long as it does not involve self-harming, drinking to death, or doing drugs, you should say yes to it. He or she wants to get his or her life back together, and it will mean so much to have even a single person believing that he or she can do anything. If the individual wishes to re-enter the workforce, for instance, you can assist in finding companies he or she can apply to. If opening a business is what this fellow has in mind, you should strategize with him or her and offer your support physically and emotionally.

Source: pxhere.com

In The End

Of course, a disabled person needs your love, not your pity. Some may argue that it is difficult to separate the two, especially when you see someone who used to do everything on his or her own suddenly deal with an infirmity. Despite that, you have to realize that pity makes you want to treat the individual like fragile glass, while love lets you support, respect, and trust any decision that your beloved comes up with, no questions asked.