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What does having a disability mean?

The definition of disability according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “A physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions”.

My own definition is (simply worded), “a change in how things are going to happen from here on out. It does not mean that you will never be able to do anything.”

Having a disability doesn’t make you a useless burden on those around you. It does not mean that you can’t be loved, accomplish great things, or help others get through their own disabilities. The biggest problem with having a disability is the mindset of the person with the disability.

Granted, what you probably had planned has been changed, but there are other things and ways to accomplish everything that you want to do. There is always hope.

Some disabilities are more obvious than others, but the basics for dealing with a disability follow certain guidelines:

  • Determine what the disability is;

  • Understand which of your activities it has put a damper on;

  • Analyze if there are other ways to do those activities;

  • Research if there is there equipment (prosthetics, for example) that can help you accomplish your task, and how to get them;

  • Research if there is an organization that is able to help you;

  • Get help with dealing with depression related to your disability if necessary;

  • Stay up-to-date on the newest research and resources to deal with your disability;

  • Find others in your life that can help you through this difficult time in your life.

Paul, my husband, worked 38 years for the Army Corps of Engineers designing and running computer programs after he became a Quadriplegic. The things that people appreciated the most about him was that “he always had a smile for you, and that smile brightened your day.”

People frustrated with their disabilities have become inventors of equipment and different ways of doing things that have helped them, and others do fun and meaningful things in life. I have learned a lot from my disabilities and in doing so found ways to help others deal with their disabilities. There are countless success stories in sports and other industries, and countless heroes out there ready to inspire.

You are more than your disabilities. Hang in there, and reach for the successes; be they small or large.


This blog post was written by Anna B. Good. Anna attended Nursing School and learned how to facilitate Respiratory Training. She enjoys training people in how to breathe and live a good life while aging. She has taken classes in home design and is continually searching the web for information on how people manage in the face of life changing events. She has always been interested in helping others help themselves. Now that she has some problems of her own, she likes to share ways that she’s found to get around some of them. One of her favorite mottos is, "Where there’s a will, there’s a way."

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