How To Discover Your Incapacity Neighborhood

Disabled community


There seems to be a huge gap between the way we talk about The Disability Community and the number of disabled people who actually feel part of it.

Most people with disabilities want to connect with a vibrant, supportive community of their peers. Some cannot find the disabled community at all and do not know where to look. Others find it, but feel left out or cannot find an inviting approach.

This is a particularly common problem for people with disabilities – such as disabled youth, adults with new disabilities due to illness or accident, and the elderly with age-related impairments. But many people with lifelong disabilities also struggle to find acceptance among their disabled peers. Part of the problem stems from divisions, hierarchies, and exclusivity among disabled people – the same kind of division found in every other social group and subculture.

But despite the many mistakes of the disabled community, there are opportunities for individual disabled people to break through and find community, support and collaboration. Here are three tips for people with disabilities looking for a welcoming and empowering disabled community:

1. Don’t look for “the” disabled community. Look for “A” disability communities that suit you.

There is no single, all-encompassing community of disabled people. But there are many interesting, very different, but overlapping communities of disabled people.

Everyone has a different focus, style, and personality. So before you dive in, think about what you hope to find:

  • Opportunities for teamwork with other disabled people who share your political concerns and advocacy goals for people with disabilities.
  • Cultural enrichment and forums expressing the experiences that people with disabilities share.
  • Career and business opportunities that can work well for people with disabilities.
  • Advice, mentoring and disabled role models who serve as empowering examples to emulate.
  • Mutual help and emotional support between people with disabilities to get through difficult times and celebrate victories.
  • Friendship and socializing with other disabled people, for fun and community, in a safe environment with less ableism and a greater understanding of what it means to be disabled.

Once you have a better idea of ​​what exactly you are looking for, you can start a more thorough and targeted search for communities that most closely match your needs.

2. Discover the many different versions of “Disability Community”

There are thousands of formal organizations and informal groups to choose from. Here are some of the most basic types of disability communities to consider:

Development and activism of disability policy

Work with others to develop, defend, and change laws, policies, and programs that support and serve people with disabilities.

In the United States, you can start by engaging with and partnering with advocacy groups like the American Association of People with Disabilities, ADAPT, ARC, and the National Council on Independent Living.

It also helps to keep up to date on current disability rights and political issues by reading and participating in advocacy campaigns on Facebook and Twitter.

Local advocacy for people with disabilities

Engage with other disabled people in your area to advocate local disability issues, such as road and sidewalk accessibility, building code enforcement, and government funding for disability services.

In most cities, counties and regions there are local associations of disability organizations that advocate local interest representation. A good place to start is the nearest Center for Independent Living, non-profit service and advocacy organizations that are run and staffed by people with disabilities. There are CILs in every state and territory in the United States, as well as in many other countries. You can join their advocacy group and find out from your CIL what other disability organizations are doing in your area.

Disabled culture

The culture of disability is the sum total of all creative work by people with disabilities, especially work that focuses on and reflects experiences with disabilities. It includes handicapped accessible journalism, cultural commentary, blogging, podcasting, vlogging on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, books, poetry, painting, music.

There are many lessons to be learned from enjoying the culture of disability. You can also develop a unique and valuable voice by creating your own works of disabled culture. And the more people with disabilities participate in the culture of disability, the richer and more empowering it becomes.


For a variety of reasons, it seems that more people with disabilities than ever are considering starting and running their own business or doing paid freelance work.

This is partly due to persistent ableism and other barriers in traditional workplaces. On the more positive side, freelance work and entrepreneurship with disabilities has been unleashed by the expansion of internet tools and culture.

The disabled entrepreneurship community also includes disabled people who get involved on their own and those working on innovative disability-related ideas that are not getting enough attention from more established organizations

Self-help and advice

Some of us are simply looking for better ways to live our best lives.

There is a thriving community, especially online, of people with disabilities who provide daily advice and seek out how to live successfully with disabilities, how to face or bypass physical and ableist barriers, and how to use the skills and abilities we have , improve and do more for us.

Again, this is an example of more than just “life hack” advice. It focuses on specific techniques and “inside” tips from actual disabled people that may not be as credible from other sources, including even disability service professionals. It’s help from people you can trust because they’ve been through it before.

Lifestyle, Claim and Elevation

Nobody seems to love an “inspiring” disabled story more than non-disabled people. Disability “feel good” memes and slogans are so common, sentimental, and condescending that for many disabled people the whole genre can be nauseating.

Yet many disabled people find real strength and hope from sharing their stories and achievements. At various stages in our lives and with disabilities, many of us need inspiration (or at least striving) and motivation to face and overcome the many negatives in our lives.

It’s a difficult balance between true encouragement and an arrogant moralism or sentimentalization that can actually become disgusting or discouraging over time. But while conscious, conscious positivity can often be shallow, for many disabled people it is essential.

Disabled-specific communities

Some of the oldest, cohesive disability communities focus on specific diagnoses or types of disabilities.

These include organizations and cultures of the blind and visually impaired, the deaf and hard of hearing, wheelchair users, intellectual and developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and disabled veterans – as well as more specific conditions such as Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury.

A few decades ago, these disabled-specific communities were the only way to organize and interact with people with disabilities. Now they increasingly share their focus and goals with wider disability communities and organizations that span different categories of disability. But they still play an important role for people who are more likely to identify with their own specific conditions.

Disabled friends and family

Of course, you don’t always have to “join” to find support and fellowship from other disabled people. A disabled friend or relative or two can mean a lot.

If you look carefully, you can find opportunities to meet other disabled people almost every day, anywhere. Each of them could be potential friends who can and can support you.

3. Adjust your expectations

Don’t expect to be fully accepted and validated right away. And don’t try to lead or radically transform existing communities overnight. Take your time and give the people you meet time to get to know you.

The shared experience with disabilities is powerful. But remember that having a disability is not always enough to gain acceptance and positive experiences in any disabled community. If your interests and personality are different from the group you are addressing, it may not work. And if not, it may not be the fault of anyone.

If you want to talk about disabled writing and poetry, don’t go to an advocacy group and tell them that advocacy is pointless and that it should include art and expression instead.

If you want to tell everyone your long and emotionally haunting story about how you became disabled, don’t be surprised if you get a cool welcome from a group of disabled people sharing practical advice or discussing disability policies.

And if you’re looking to promote a business idea, be careful how you present it, especially in groups that are less focused on individual performance and more on mutual support or shared advocacy goals.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, instead of asking what the disabled community can do for you, ask what you can do for your disabled community.

After all, face-to-face encounters are healthy and should soon be safe and feasible again. But for disabled people who have viable access to it, social media is by far the most efficient way to explore the full range of disabled communities and connect with what interests you.

So definitely explore, in person and online. The disabled community is out there. All you have to do is look for it, manage your expectations, and be clear with yourself about what you are looking for.

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