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One of the most common barriers that people with disabilities face is making connections with others in their personal and professional lives.  Every day people with disabilities face many different barriers, such as discrimination, transportation issues or dealing with stigmas and different types of attitudes.  The lack of social networking can lead to feelings of loneliness, boredom or depression.  There are many possible reasons for the lack of social interactions, such as hearing and communication barriers, fear or lack of understanding of differences, or people who look just at a disability rather than a person

Sadly, in today’s society, people with disabilities have to deal with the stigma of having a disability.  Many people have the misconception that a disability makes a person helpless, incapable of being independent or not being smart.  I have also seen people with disabilities looked on as not an important part of society.  Many individuals are either scared or uncomfortable around people with disabilities due to the lack of information and focusing just on the negative part of having a disability.

There are many resources available to help bridge the social gap for people with disabilities.  For example, volunteering can be a wonderful, positive social experience, bringing the good feeling of helping others, getting involved in playing team sports and joining clubs or organizations.  The main problem with this is that many people don’t know how to find these resources or get to them.  Another excellent resource is the Internet, where chat rooms and message boards have allowed people to make friends and have the opportunity to interact with others.

It has always been my personal experience that surrounding myself with positive people and experiences has led me to happiness. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, I believe that disabled individuals should be judged on their character rather than their disability.  I would rather have a few close friends and family who are true to themselves and me instead of a large number of friends who do not fully accept me.

Whenever I meet somebody I always look for the good in them and I focus on being myself and I feel that if they can’t accept me for who I am, I move on because they are not worth my time.  I have always seen my disabilities as part of who I am and I am very proud of my accomplishments and where I am today.  I am very thankful that I have found someone special to share my life and have a close family and friends who love and accept me for who I am. Read my column at http://www.masslive.com/holyokeplus/republican/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1270884047135280.xml&coll=1

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 at 7:22 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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