Goals that drive a disabled person

More often than not, we harbor the misconception that disabled individuals have limited goals and a restricted understanding of how to advance in life. While it is true that certain disabilities may impose specific challenges, it is a gross oversimplification and a disservice to assume that all individuals with disabilities are constrained by these limitations.

Educational Aspects

In formal workplaces, educational settings, or any other environments, we often make several assumptions about disabled individuals:

  • Must strictly adhere to a timetable.
  • Do not like to be disturbed.
  • Receive too many benefits.

These assumptions are overly simplistic and fail to recognize the diverse needs and preferences of disabled people.

For instance, we recall a situation in Gilgit where one of our students could not afford a notetaker or scribe for an exam and, as a result, was unable to take it on that day. This example highlights a critical question: where are we, as a community, for that particular individual in their time of need?

Even in the West, some students complain about disabled peers receiving extra time for exams. These critics often fail to realize that disabled individuals do not always have access to the necessary facilities and support they require.

Social Aspects

Even when disabled individuals try to be social, there are circumstances that others may not fully understand. Three common types of these circumstances are:

  1. How to Act Socially: Disabled individuals may find it challenging to navigate social interactions in the same way as non-disabled people. This can be due to physical, sensory, or cognitive limitations that affect how they communicate, move, or interpret social cues. For instance, a person with a hearing impairment might struggle to follow conversations in a noisy environment, while someone with a mobility issue might find it difficult to participate in activities that require physical movement.
  2. Understanding Social Norms: Social norms can be complex and unwritten, making them difficult for some disabled individuals to grasp or adhere to. This can result in misunderstandings or social awkwardness. For example, a person with autism might have difficulty interpreting body language or facial expressions, leading to miscommunications. Similarly, someone with a mental health condition might find it challenging to engage in social situations due to anxiety or depression.
  3. Limitations Imposed by the Condition: The nature of a disability often imposes specific limitations that can hinder social participation. These limitations can range from needing to take frequent breaks due to fatigue to requiring assistive devices that might not be readily accommodated in social settings. For instance, a person with a chronic illness might have fluctuating energy levels, making it hard to commit to social plans. Someone using a wheelchair might face physical barriers in environments that are not fully accessible.

Understanding these challenges is crucial for creating inclusive and supportive social environments. By recognizing and addressing the unique needs of disabled individuals, we can foster greater empathy and inclusion in our communities.

Community Aspects

As an official of a non-profit organization, we face numerous challenges in both educational and social aspects that limit our ability to reach the right donors and officials who will support our cause. These limitations stem from several factors:

Educational Constraints:

  • Lack of Awareness: Many potential supporters are not fully aware of the specific educational needs and barriers faced by disabled individuals. This lack of understanding can result in insufficient funding and resources directed towards our programs.
  • Resource Limitations: We often struggle with limited resources, making it difficult to create comprehensive and impactful educational materials and campaigns that could attract and inform potential donors.
  • Accessibility Issues: Ensuring that our educational content is accessible to all, including those with disabilities, requires additional resources and expertise, which can be challenging to obtain.

Social Barriers:

  • Stigma and Misconceptions: Persistent stigma and misconceptions about disability can deter potential donors and officials from engaging with our cause. These social barriers can make it difficult to communicate the real needs and potential of disabled individuals.
  • Networking Challenges: Building relationships with influential donors and officials often requires extensive networking, which can be hindered by societal biases and the lack of inclusivity in many professional circles.
  • Visibility and Reach: Our organization may struggle to gain visibility in broader social circles, limiting our ability to connect with a wider audience who might support our mission.

Practical Limitations:

  • Communication Barriers: We sometimes have to reach out to intermediaries who connect us with potential donors and supporters. This indirect approach can dilute our message and reduce the impact of our communication.
  • Limited Direct Access: Directly accessing high-profile donors and officials is often challenging, as they may have gatekeepers or busy schedules that prevent us from making contact.
  • Reliance on Networking: We frequently rely on existing networks and connections to reach new supporters, which can limit our growth and diversification of donor bases.

To address these challenges, we must employ strategic approaches, such as increasing awareness and education about disability issues, building inclusive networks, and enhancing our outreach efforts. By doing so, we aim to overcome these barriers and successfully connect with the right donors and officials who will support our cause and help us achieve our goals.

A more practical example is that I send out emails, and no one responds. This lack of response can be attributed to several factors, including educational, social, and logistical challenges. What I fear is that people do not consider what the other, in this case, the disabled person, thinks. That is up to the individual.

If it were me, I would say:

“Dear X,

I’m sorry, but I am unable to support you at this time. Perhaps you could try reaching out to someone else, such as Y.

Best regards, [Your Name]”

Simple as that. Even donors can use apps such as ChatGPT to write a simple email.

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