10 Lessons I have Learned with Having a Disability

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

  1. Focus On Your Strengths and Not What You Are Unable to Do- If you focus on your talents and strengths, you will succeed. If you are so focused on what you can’t achieve, you won’t. For example, I have a nonverbal disability in which I can not talk. If I focus on how I will never sing, it won’t help me be successful. Try to focus on what you can do, like the Little Engine that Could “I think I can, I think I can… I knew I could, I knew I could.”

  2. Be Positive and Praise The Good! -Find the good in every situation in life. It’s what you do with it that counts! People assume I am deaf pretty much all the time - when I go get a ticket at the movies, when I’m checking out at the grocery store, or when I’m trying to order food at a restaurant. I can’t help what they assume. All I can do is focus on my reaction to their assumptions. Either I can get mad or just let it go because I can not control others. I choose to let it go and be positive. When I do find a person who understands I just can’t talk, I usually say how much I appreciate them and thank them.

  3. It’s Okay to Not be Okay- It’s okay to be frustrated about your circumstances. Having a disability can be difficult at times and frustrating. I get so frustrated sometimes, but always remember that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start- a new day to be positive.

  4. Be Realistic-Be a realist about your strengths and weaknesses. Some things you will be awesome at, while some things you may have trouble doing. Let’s be realistic: I will never be a singer or be able because of my nonverbal disability. However, I can do a lot of other things like helping people with disabilities strive to their fullest potential.

  5. Find Your Coping Strategy- Find your way of relieving stress and frustrations. Things like playing sports, drawing, reading, dancing, playing games - these are all good stress relievers. It is important for you to find your way to cope with your disability. My coping strategy is to walk or run with Alex, my labrador retriever.

  6. Have Goals and Dreams-Goals are an important part of being successful. In order to reach a goal, I use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). This will help you set out to achieve your goals too.

  7. Have High Expectations for Yourself- It is important to set high goals and expectations for yourself. If you only set low goals for yourself, you will only meet your low goals and not meet your fullest potential. If you set reachable goals for yourself, you will meet them. Reachable goals are goals that may be difficult but you know you can meet it. For example, I have been a runner since I ran my first fun mile at age 5. A low goal for me would be to run two miles. A reachable goal for me would be to run a half or a full marathon.

  8. Find What It Takes to Overcome Your Disability-Your journey with your disability may look completely different from mine. Find a way to overcome it. Think of all the possible ways to minimize the barrier. For example, I use sign language, my iPhone’s assistive technology, gestures/facial expressions, and sometimes I write down what I need to communicate as well.

  9. Resilience and Pick Your Battles- Sometimes you have to get back up off the ground again, again, and AGAIN. To be honest, I am an extremely stubborn person to the point that it is unhealthy, but I have learned that the small victories are to be celebrated.

  10. Be Yourself- You are you for a purpose - whatever that purpose may be. You just have to find it! You are the best you can be.

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