Updated: Oct 1, 2020
There is more ability in the word disability than we might imagine. As National Disability Month begins in October to remind us of the hurdles that those living with challenges face in every aspect of life.
Disability accounts for 26% of the population in the United States that constitutes 61 million individuals. In Nevada, the numbers raise a little higher at 26.8%. If the numbers for brain injury were more accurately reported to encompass all types of acquired brain injury, this number would significantly escalate well beyond the more known Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
This month provides the opportunity to expand beyond the initial origins of Disability Month, which focused on employment for the disabled; we can also focus upon the abilities that are so largely present and often marginalized. The non-disabled individual is most likely unaware of the challenges or struggles for access, accommodation, or acceptance that is a reality for those with disability. Some disabilities may be visible, though many, like brain injury, are not, which complicates understanding and compassionate assistance that many might provide were they to be better informed.
Where the disabled might discover challenges, it is where they learn to champion alternatives, and grow from the adversity. The disability of brain injury can be viewed with perspective when one has the opportunity to engage, service, or work alongside an individual. During those times, what becomes evident is a strong will to champion and regard the environment differently. Relearning how to talk or walk can provide frustrating moments, though they do not give up. They make strides, and even if it is only half an inch better than the day before, it counts as progress. Sometimes they do not make progress, yet they come back. It is a perseverance that can be humbling and inspiring for the non-disabled to appreciate the gravity of efforts required to accomplish simple tasks.
This is where we open our eyes to appreciate the comparable differences in the challenges present. It is also where everyone can realize that relearning and new learning are occurring to create something different. Disability is not being used, new abilities are. Presented with a different perception, alternatives become choices and better fitting strategies can produce more effective results.
This is why we created the Ability Challenge for each day of this month. It is a daily neuroplasticity experience for every individual to discover alternatives and differing aspects of their innate ability. None live up to the mind or body's full potential, yet we put so much on others to do what we have yet to explore. This opportunity provides the chance to let go of the comparisons and hone your skills and talents to discover what else might prompt your capabilities to shine. To champion our abilities is where we level the playing field. It celebrates the abilities of everyone.
Creating Resources for Changing what Changes You Nevada Brain Injury