As of August 2021, 4.9 million veterans, or 27% of the total veteran population in The United States, has a service-connected disability. Thus, more than one quarter of the population of those who served our country suffer from some sort of impairment that makes it more difficult to perform certain activities and interact with the world less easily than the rest of us. These impairments and restrictions may be both physical and psychological; visible and non-visible.
Thus, with these statistics, over one in four of us is faced with an added struggle in our daily lives. This means awareness and compassion towards everyone surrounding us is critical. In a sense, disability impacts all of us in some way, shape, or form.
Disability Impacts All of Us
Disability awareness is the practice of knowing, acknowledging, and accepting individuals' experiences as they relate to disability. Knowing, being aware, and moving beyond your own level of comfort is key to a greater understanding, as well.
Through awareness, the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding those with disabilities can be brought to the forefront. By dismantling our judgements of others, attitudes and behaviors become more positive and impactful across the world.
Disabilities present and are labeled in a variety of ways. This list in no way comes close to exhausting the possibilities of disabling encounters among the population:
Cognition: understanding and thinking/remembering
Additionally, those of us who are labeled as, “disabled,” do not fit into one particular group. My vision disability relates to me, a “single population,” and my range of needs and restrictions may be entirely different from my buddy who is also visually disabled. We are all affected in very different ways, and those ways change the way we relate to the world and those around us, thus emphasizing the fact that we are all impacted by disabilities.
According to the CDC, disabilities affect our ability to function in life and may include:
Disorders in single genes (for example, Duchenne muscular dystrophy);
Disorders of chromosomes (for example, Down syndrome); and
The result of the mother’s exposure during pregnancy to infections (for example, rubella) or substances, such as alcohol or cigarettes.
Associated with developmental conditions that become apparent during childhood (for example, autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD)
Related to an injury (for example, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury). externalicon
Associated with a longstanding condition (for example, diabetes), which can cause a disability such as vision loss, nerve damage, or limb loss.
Progressive (for example, muscular dystrophy), static (for example, limb loss), or intermittent.
Any of the above as developed later in life and/or due to accident or injury.
Fundamentally, disabilities are not something any of us can ignore, and the statistical prevalence proves that these “differences” occur all around us – which leads to the question, are we really disabled, or just unique?
After all, we were created as individuals and our contribution to society remains distinctive and exceptional no matter how we are labeled in society.
We are all aware of and deserve to recognize THAT!
Be aware and embrace your own, mine, and all of our individuality. Veterans Victory Small Business Center recognizes and honors all disabilities in all circumstances.
Resources: Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/index.html;