Myths and misconceptions about people with disability are unfortunately common, and can result in people with disability being treated unfairly or differently to their peers without disability. So, we’ve decided to bust a few of these myths, and show everyone the truth about how people with disability live rich and fulfilling lives, encompassing work, friendships, independence, and achievements.
The myths: people with intellectual disability…
Don’t make their own choices
Some people believe that because people with disability are often supported by support workers or family, that this means they don’t make their own decisions. However, this is often not true. Many people with disability make their own choices about their life and goals and enjoy the same freedom and independence as their peers without disability. Activ customer Tamara’s story is proof that people with disability can and do carve their own paths:
Tamara had always dreamt of riding a two-wheel bike, but since she lost her sight at age 9, she hasn’t had the encouragement or opportunity to do so. During a recent conversation with her support worker, Sue, they decided that it was the right time for her to pursue this goal. Sue explained the risks, and Tamara made the choice herself, deciding that she wanted to give it a go. Tamara has been practicing regularly, and can now ride unassisted for about a minute – she says that she feels a sense of freedom while she rides.
Don’t work or have jobs
It’s a common belief that people with disability are unable to secure paid work – and although some do volunteer or participate in community activities instead, there are many people with disability who do have jobs. Activ customer Jo is just one example:
Jo’s goals included becoming more independent, and getting more involved with her community, so she began volunteering at local Coles and Vinnies stores. After a few months of volunteering at Coles, Jo was offered a paid position. She now works there three days a week, and is responsible for stacking shelves and compressing boxes. This job gives her valuable new skills – such as safety in the workplace training – which she can take into future employment. Jo’s manager has praised her for completing tasks independently and showing pride in her work.
Can’t live independently
Many people will make the assumption that because someone has a disability, they will never be able to live independently. This belief is often untrue, as many people with disability live on their own, or in shared accommodation, and carry out the same daily living activities we all do. Just like Activ customer Nicholas:
Nicholas works at Activ Employment Services Bentley, and lives independently in his own place, while accessing drop-in support. Through Activ Pathways, Nicholas has completed qualifications in business and retail, and spends much of his time pursuing his main passion – writing.
May not have friends/relationships
A popular misconception is that people with disability don’t socialise or have relationships. This isn’t true at all. People with disability develop friendships and relationships in the same way that anyone without disbaility would. Sometimes, making friends and building relationships can be supported through accessing disability services, like shared accommodation:
Annie, Lisa, and Julie are Activ customers who have moved into a shared house together. Two of the ladies already worked together at Activ Employment Services Rockingham, but all three met regularly for coffee catch-ups before moving in together. The three women love living together, and they all look out for each other – Annie even cooks dinner for her housemates nearly every evening.
Activ supports people with disability to reach their full potential
These stories from our customers show that the many myths about how people with disability live their lives are rooted in a lack of understanding. At Activ, we know that it’s completely possible for people with disability to live full and happy lives, and enjoy meaningful friendships and rewarding work.
Activ offers disability support services to support people with disability to reach their goals and fulfill their potential. Our intellectual disability support can include shared accommodation or drop-in support, and supporting you with your employment goals. We have been supporting people with intellectual disability since 1951, so you can trust our experienced team to support you with your independence – whatever that means to you. Contact our friendly team to find out more about our disability services.