Unheralded Heroes: Disability Carers & Therapists

Social care workers, disability carers and therapists are among today’s unheralded heroes. Our disabled or sick family members greatly need their help, and yet the society undervalues them. For one, they get unpaid or do not receive just remuneration for the services they provide. In fact, the British Government insists that carers work for 35 hours in a week for a rate that is way below what’s acceptable.

In Australia, Chiropractor services Sydney CBD are among the support and health care workers that attend the needs of the disabled. Unfortunately, they are sometimes treated badly, just as in any case of carers and therapists in the country.

Unheralded Heroes: Disability Carers & Therapists

A greater part of disability carers and therapists in the world are women. This is one of the few factors on women’s disproportionate poverty. In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said that “women aged 65 and over are twice as likely to live in poverty in contrast to men who are on the same age bracket”. This has nothing to do with lifespan or job discrimination, but because the majority of these women worked or are working as carers.

According to the Resolution Foundation, at least 160,000 carers and therapists were “cheated out of the minimum wage”. This makes it crystal clear on how we value our so-called ‘unheralded heroes’.

They deserve better.

Disability carers and therapists are the care sector’s biggest asset. However, it is not manifested in their salaries and working conditions. According to The Helpcare Project, we must acknowledge the importance of these care workers by giving them basic health care coverage. For instance, they should receive free flu immunizations, which must be regularly monitored and reported. More so, they should be given access to housing privileges or accommodations, which will immensely help in their day to day living conditions.

In Australia, carers were recognized through the Carer Recognition Act of 2010. This marked as the first course of action in ameliorating the rights of disability carers and therapists. While in some western countries, carers are slowly being acknowledged in the form of remuneration. They now have an Invalid Care Allowance and receive compensation amounting to at least the minimum wage.

Disabled Sex: Invisible Trysts

In Japan, an organisation called as the White Hands caters the sexual needs of primarily those with cerebral palsy. Japan Today reported that most of the business’ patients were disabled singles who cannot masturbate or married individuals who can’t get off on their own. On average, a 15-minute session costs 3,500 yen. Interestingly, not all the services the business provides where sexually in nature. For instance, some patients would just want the escorts to rub them down and slip a condom on them without the escorts getting undressed or engaging in a sexual contact.

There are also erotic services, such as phone sex for the disabled that have sparked the interest of those physically or intellectually incapacitated. With all these opportunities for the disabled to sexually get off and get laid, research shows that the chances for disabled people in having a long-term partner or marrying non-PWDs are not that great. In fact, a survey conducted in the United Kingdom demonstrated that 44 percent of the respondents haven’t had any sexual contact yet with persons with disabilities while 77 percent do not entertain the idea of having sex with them.

Sexuality of the Disabled

Over the years, the sexuality of those disabled was suppressed. According to Dr. Tom Shakespeare, author of the book The Sexual Politics of Disability, the sexuality of the disabled were stereotyped as asexual, perverse, or sometimes hypersexual. For example, some literary pieces illustrated the absence of sexuality of the disabled. Let’s take Hephaestus as an example. Hephaestus was banished from the Olympus by his mother because of his physical impairment. When Hephaestus married Aphrodite, his wife was not loyal to him, again because of his disability.

More often than not, the sexual desires of PWDs are disregarded. Maybe because it is better to protect them from being sexually intimate with others rather than get rejected and get hurt in the long run. However, they, too, want a sex life. Sexuality is an essential part of human nature. Whether you are physically, intellectually or mentally incapacitated, everyone should be able to express their sexual thoughts, feelings, desires and fantasies. Good thing that there are businesses nowadays that service the sexual needs of the disabled, like those in Japan.

Family Planning: Disability Support

Family-Planning-Disability-Support

People with disability have sexual needs, and rights to marry and make informed decisions about having children. They have the right to make their own informed choices on family planning methods. To help make the right choice, there are disability support groups that give accurate, adequate, and accessible information about sexual health, reproduction and family planning.  Family planning allows couples to attain their desired number of children and the right spacing and timing of their births. Limiting pregnancies can impact the health of the mother and the wellbeing of the child. This can be achieved through the use of contraceptive methods.

Contraception is also called birth control or family planning. There are many types of contraception methods, not all method is 100% effective.  You will need to find what method works for you.

Contraceptive Barriers:
Male condom – also called rubber is the most effective way to reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmissible infection during sex.
Female condom – this is an alternative to male condom.
Diaphragms – this is a barrier that fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix to stop the sperm from fertilising the egg.

Daily Contraceptive Pills:
Combined pill – this pill is made from two synthetic hormones that help prevent pregnancy.
The Mini pill – this pill is made from only one hormone progestogen.

Emergency Contraception:
Morning after Pill – is best taken ideally within 24 hours of having unprotected sex.

Long Acting Reversible Contraception:
Contraceptive Implants – slowly release hormones into the body over time.
Contraceptive Injection – contains a hormone that is similar to progesterone.
Intrauterine Device – this is a small device that is put into the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Other Contraceptive Methods:
Natural Family Planning – uses physical changes that occur during menstrual cycle to avoid having sex and reduce the risk of pregnancy.
Tubal Ligation (Sterilisation) – this is a permanent method of contraception for women who do not want to have children in the future.
Vasectomy – is an operation done to men to block the tubes in the groin that carry sperm.
NuvaRing – vaginal ring that works similar to oral contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy

People with disability should have the same choices regarding reproductive health and family planning. Here’s a list of disability support groups that give information on sexual health and reproductive health choices for people with disabilities.

Family Planning NSW
Family Planning NSW State Office
328-336 Liverpool Road Ashfield NSW 2131
Tel: 02 8752 4300
Family Planning NSW provides clinical services, health promotion and education and trainings at their clinics. They have a range of disability resources to help people with intellectual disability, teachers, clinicians, disability workers, and parents and carers. The easy to read resources are illustrated to ensure people with intellectual disability can understand them. FPNSW also provides specialist training for doctors, nurses, teachers, community workers and other professionals.

Family Planning Victoria
Tel: 03 9257 0100
Box Hill Clinic:  01 Whitehorse Rd (PO Box 1377) Box Hill, 3128
Action Centre: Level 1, 94 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, 3000
Family Planning Victoria focuses on reproductive and sexual health care, education and advocacy. They work on improving the reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing of everyone in Victoria including people with disability. They work on strengthening the primary care and community-based service system to help people make decisions about their sexual and reproductive wellbeing.

True Org Relationship & Reproductive Health
Brisbane: Building 1230 Lutwyche Road Windsor QLD 4030
Tel: 07 3250 0200
True provides relationships and sexuality education services specifically for people with a disability. They have packages developed to meet the needs of young people and adults with a disability. They use visual resources and interactive activities to help individuals understand bodies, enjoy healthy relationships and be safe. They also offer group education sessions for people with disability and a consulting service for schools and organisations.

South Eastern CASA (Centre Against Sexual Assault & Family Violence)
Family Planning Victoria Inc
Box Hill: 901 Whitehorse, Road Box Hill 3128
Tel: (03) 9257 0100
City: 277 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000
Phone: (03) 9654 4766 Freecall: 1800 013 952
Family Planning Victoria provides statewide service staffed with professionals who work directly with people with disabilities. They provide counselling and educational services in the area of Human Relations, Sexuality and Sexual Health for people with disabilities, parents, carers and families, teachers and other disability services workers.

Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT
Level One, 28 University Avenue, Canberra, ACT, 2601
Tel: 02 6247 3077
Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT is a strong health promotion charity that delivers sexual and reproductive health services to Canberra community. They have a comprehensive specialist library and resource centre containing books, info sheets & pamphlets. They also have teaching kits, videos and other information on sexuality and reproductive health topics.

 

Chiropractic Services for the Disabled and the Needy

Chiropractors are described as health care professionals who specialise on diagnosis and medication of neuromuscular disorders. One of their primary goals is to ease pain and improve their patient’s functionality. Moreover, chiropractors instruct their patients on how they can take care of themselves through regular exercise, ergonomics and physiotherapy.

Ultimately, the goal of all medical practitioners is to provide unparalleled services the best way possible. That being said, around 10.2 million people with disabilities in the United States had a hard time accessing health care services, including chiropractic services, in 2013. Nevertheless, chiropractors like those in Straight Forward Clinics, are doing the best they can in order to provide chiropractic services to the disabled in Australia. 

Chiropractic and the Disabled

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are the primary customers of chiropractic clinics. In fact, a research by the Kessler Institute showed that 23 percent of people suffering from spinal cord injury (SCI) and chronic pain had consulted chiropractors. For instance, a patient who was paralysed due to a car accident has been undergoing chiropractic therapy at least once a month. The procedure involves chiropractic adjustments and mobilisation on the pelvis and the lower extremities.

Chiropractic services can also accommodate shoulder and rib injuries of those who are on wheelchairs. These injuries are mostly because of too much use of the shoulders and arms due to repeated transfer to and from the wheelchair. When not dealt with immediately, these injuries may result to serious shoulder issues. What chiropractics do to patients suffering from this is assuage the pain and enforce strengthening exercises coupled with spine adjustments.

People who spend a lot of time on their wheelchairs are also susceptible to neck and back pains, which are caused by bad posture. Chiropractors help restore muscle balance and re-establish the movements in the spine that are restrained as a result of muscle imbalance. In addition, patients are taught how to maintain good posture when slumped on a wheelchair to avert recurring neck and back pains.

For the paralysed that has an active lifestyle, chiropractors employ stretching and strengthening regimen. This treatment will aid the patient in building a strong upper body to make up for being incapable of balancing themselves when using their legs and lower-back muscles.

The Importance of Being Correctly Diagnosed

Being diagnosed with a certain condition means that your treatment program will then follow the prescribed path for that particular illness or disorder. Which is why it is vital that adults and children are correctly diagnosed in the first place. Auditory Processing Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are two very different conditions, but they are both relatively new medical problems and thus suffer from a lack of clear community understanding as to their natures. Both complaints affect children disproportionately when compared to the number of recognised adult cases. Doctors have had difficulty in coming to terms with these modern ailments and could well be accused of dragging the chain to some degree.

The Importance of Being Correctly Diagnosed

Sophisticated medicine for children, which treats behavioural problems is a relatively new phenomenon. Until quite recently, young people were left to their own devices and their treatment not taken seriously until they had reached adulthood. Paediatricians were, in the main, a slightly neglected body of medical practitioners who did not capture the imagination of the general public. As western communities have become more and more wealthy greater attention has begun to be focused on younger members of our populations.

A parent driven movement for the medical recognition of conditions like ADHD and Auditory Processing Disorder became more and more strident in its demands for airtime. Parents with kids who were not conforming to behavioural standards wanted answers and they wanted pharmaceutical solutions to the problem. ADHD testing, started to become more prevalent in America, the United Kingdom and Australia. People wanted their children diagnosed with medically recognised conditions. Doctors were asking themselves and their colleagues, had these conditions always existed unrecognised or were they a brand new phenomenon, and if so what has caused them?

Are these modern ailments occurring in response or reaction to our rapidly changing worlds in the west? Are they related to diet, the vastly increased prevalence of fast foods, fats and sugars? Is the inability to focus being exacerbated by the demands of a highly conceptual digital age? Has the classroom become too intellectually demanding for many of our children? Is the sedentary behaviour and lack of exercise damaging the health of our children? Is it pollution, bad medicines, or are electro-magnetic energy affecting brainwaves? Is there just too much information floating around us in the biosphere and are some of us struggling to process it? Lots of questions that need to be asked, and, hopefully, answered. Until then, the importance of correct diagnosis and treatment of these conditions remains a priority at the coalface.

Disability Values: Running in the Wrong Direction?

Are people with disabilities judged according to able bodied standards? Is Paralympics an example of a principle running in the wrong direction?

Every four years, the Summer Paralympics is being held almost concurrent with the Olympic Games. The primary goal of this sporting event for the disabled is to foster the concepts on health and human rights for differently-abled athletes. That being said, there are people, mostly person with disabilities (PWDs), who think that the Paralympics is a ‘mockery of equality’ and is just a mere sideshow for the upcoming Olympics.

Paralympics and Disability Politics

Disability politics is the core of calls to bring about amendments on policies or changes on customaries that still result to oppression on the part of PWDs. Even if the Paralympic Movement aims to reshape the weak notion on disabled athletes and people with impairment in general, the Paralympics somewhat presents a different context. For instance, the sporting event conveys a message that incapacitated athletes, even when racing as fast as able-bodied athletes such as Oscar Pistorius used to do, are passive and powerless, but nevertheless plucky. Moreover, the Paralympics gives a wrong impression of empowerment; that PWDs have to rely on able-bodied people who will unshackle them from their plight.

Moreover, there are people who feel that the Paralympics is a gross misrepresentation of the actual experiences of a disabled person. Even though the Games show a sanguine perspective, it does not include the verisimilitude of PWDs: their pain and sufferings. It also promotes the wrong sense of inclusion; that you need to have the appropriate impairment for you to belong to the competition’s classifications.

Inspiration from Disabilities?

Reality check: a lot of people are inspired with PWDs achieving things or bringing glory in spite of their impediments. We actually laud them for getting the better of their impairments and regard them as ‘special’. However, little do we know that most of them are irked of being objectified and being the source of ‘inspiration porn’. That being said, we can still learn a lot of things from them; that we can still have true happiness regardless of the existence of extremities,  that we don’t have to lose sleep over trivial matters, that flaws and imperfections aren’t always a bad thing, and that we should enjoy each day as if it were our last.

Poverty and the Disabled: The Greatest Disability

According to Center for American Progress, “disability is both a cause and consequence of poverty.” Poverty and disability goes hand in hand. When a person becomes disabled, he/she may lose his/her job, incur extra expenditures, face impediments in education or skills development, and so on. Moreover, a person’s disability can be a result of poverty and limited access to the government’s health programs.

In a recent statistics report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for Americans with disabilities is 34.5 percent compared to 12.2 percent of those who are not incapacitated. Unfortunately, unless a disabled person is financially supported by his/her family, he/she may find himself/herself in struggle street. In Australia, government disability pensions are rarely enough to survive on, especially as cities in the country become ever-more expensive. That’s why more and more persons with disabilities (PWDs) rely on loans for people in desperate circumstances.

Disability in Worldwide Scale

These statistics from the World Report on Disability will give us a picture of the situation of PWDs:

  • At least a billion people in the world or around 15% of the entire population are living with disabilities
  • 2.2 percent of the world’s population are in serious functional adversities
  • Almost 80% of PWDs are in low-income countries
  • Merely 41.7 percent of women with disabilities have reached primary school
  • HIV/AIDS is more common in PWDs, but a big number of them don’t hace access to HIV/AIDS services

Reasons Why PWDs are Shackled to Poverty

  • Limited Learning Opportunities

Ideally, a person can break free from poverty through education. Your wage depends on your educational attainment; the higher it is, the higher is your salary. Usually, low-income households are the ones who are susceptible to having a family member with congenital learning difficulties or disabilities. These people, who usually live in areas with high poverty rates, suffer from underfunded learning institutions. This problem should be the foremost priority of the country’s future political parties.

  • Discrimination at Work

In the US, even if there is a law that regards PWDs as members of the protected social class, they still get discriminated at work. Some companies prefer employing non-disabled applicants rather than PWDs, even if they are more qualified for the job.

  • Albeism

Albeism is described as the “discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.” Some people feel that they are better than those who have disabilities. This social attitude is the primary reason why PWDs are the first victims of social inequality.

2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro

As of this writing, there are at least 86 days to go before the Paralympic Games. Around 4,300 athletes from 176 countries are vying for 528 sporting events, which will be held in 21 venues spread across Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On estimate, the Paralympics will be watched by more than 1.5 million people worldwide.

The 15th Summer Paralympics in Rio is an event full of firsts – first country in Latin America to host the Paralympic Games, first sporting events for the recently included sports (paracanoe, paratriathlon), and the first Summer Paralympics to take place during the host city’s winter season.

In busting myths about disabilities, the Summer Paralympic Games are being held once every four years. The event will also bolster the International Olympic Committee’s campaign on supporting the Olympic and Paralympic movements. In fact, the United Kingdom’s Channel 4, Australia’s the Seven Network, and the United States’ NBC will cover the event to reach more audience and raise awareness since this event aims to change the perception of many people to those who have disabilities.

Special Olympics versus Paralympics

Special Olympics and Paralympics are different, thus cannot be used interchangeably. Although both are centred on sport for athletes with disabilities, there are three elements that set them apart. These are the athletes, sporting philosophy and structure.

Athletes

The Special Olympics is participated by athletes with intellectual disabilities aged 8 and above. The disabilities can either be a cognitive delay, intellectual disability or developmental disability. On the other hand, the Paralympics is for athletes who are/have amputees, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, visually impaired, spinal injuries and Les Autres. There also has no age restriction in Paralympic Games. Athletes who join the Paralympic Games go through intensive trainings, which are quite similar to the preparations of Olympic athletes.

Sporting Philosophy

While Special Olympics aims to help all athletes to realise their potentials without meeting certain standards, Paralympics has set criteria and requirements where athletes undergo a rigorous qualification process.

Structure

Special Olympics is an international organisation for athletes with certain disabilities that focuses on establishing a worldwide network of athletes who enter sport competitions while instituting a community that is dedicated in promoting inclusion and acceptance for all people. The global movement has a head office in Washington D.C. in which 170 countries field athletes in 32 Olympics-type sports. On the contrary, the International Paralympic Committee spearheads the Paralympic Games where each member countries have a National Governing Organisation that implements rules and regulations similar to the Olympics.

Sexual Liberation for Disabled People

When you cut away the veneer of polite political correctness most people would rather not think about sexual liberation for disabled people. The majority of abled body human beings would rather turn off the lights than watch a pornographic scene with two disabled people. Why? Because sex is fundamentally linked to procreation; and most folk are hardwired to wish for their own perfect progeny to reproduce. The horror of disability, whether congenital or accidental, is not something that most of us want to see reproduced.

Most human beings are attracted to a conception of aesthetic beauty; which is why the good-looking among us get more sex. If you are a man, it pays to be taller. If you are a woman, physical beauty is probably the single most important quality you must possess if you are to succeed in evolutionary terms. Very few people are attracted to disabled people, and that includes other disabled people. We all wish for perfection in ourselves and in our progeny. We are programmed biologically to act in this way. It does not matter how many online surveys you fill out on dating sites and how well you do in them; ultimately it comes down to what you look like.

Sexual Liberation for Disabled People

Having sex with another human being, rather than merely having sex with yourself, involves the willing consensuality of both parties. This is not something that is always easily achievable for disabled people. Firstly, they are often closely controlled and monitored by loving, but by sometimes disapproving or neglectful family or professional carers; especially when it comes to having sex. Traditionally, sex was not seen to be on the menu for disabled people according to institutional and charitable practices. The world has grown up somewhat and sex is no longer seen to be solely in the repository of perfect human beings.

Escorts who cater for disabled clientele play an important part in the sexual liberation for disabled people. It is, however, still only a commercial service being provided in the same sense as meals and cleaning services are provided. The ultimate power of sex is about love, sex without love is a mere shell of what it can be. Going forward, sexual liberation for disabled people is about breaking down barriers, between disabled people, and disabled and abled people. The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is fear. When we remove the fear around sexual liberation for disabled people, love will flourish where currently sterility abides.

Finding Corporate Sponsorship for Disability Projects

It is, I suppose, an indication of our maturing as a society, when corporations come on-board as sponsors for disability charities and their specific projects. Our conceptions of success and wealth are, perhaps, broadening to include a social responsibility toward those within our communities who cannot run, jump, swim or play at record breaking levels. Corporations have traditionally wanted to be associated only with winners; individuals and winning teams. Buy our product or service and you are part of a winning team. Bank with us and you are supporting your football code. The reality has always been that the vast majority of able bodied community members do not physically excel at anything themselves, but the archetypal illusion of the garlanded Olympic champion lives on in our collective dreams.

Helping those less fortunate has, in the past, been the shared province of church and state. More church when they were at the helm, and as their executive power has waned, government social services have come to the fore. Now, however, in a few cases we see corporations getting involved in things like the Paralympics. Sponsors of this event worldwide include: Toyota, VISA, Samsung, Panasonic, BP, Allianz, Atos and ottobock.  Although, this is still an elite sporting event, which has been transposed to the world of disabled athletes. The message remains we honour those who can run the fastest, jump the highest and so on. Success is predicated on being the best within certain prescribed parameters.

Finding Corporate Sponsorship for Disability Projects

In many instances corporate sponsorship for disability projects is the result of certain passionate individuals driving those projects through their association with that disability; usually because a family member or close friend has that disability. And now, we are seeing courageous individuals with disabilities breaking out of isolation and driving change themselves. No longer as marginalised, these impassioned individuals are crossing the line and reaching out. Often, things like this need strong motivation to succeed in crossing boundaries. Corporations do not traditionally identify themselves with those who are not highly successful; unless the corporation itself operates in the charitable field. Things are, however, beginning to change; as society becomes more inclusive, recognising those of its members with disability as valid human beings. The definition of success may just be broadening to include those who manage a life without the usual support of a fully functioning body or mind. Overcoming adversity and living a rich life, which includes disability but is not purely defined by it.

What things can we then offer a corporate sponsor to encourage them to get aboard? In marketing terms, logos on websites, invitations, brochures and all that usual stationary. Official acknowledgement at all social gatherings and plenty of gracious charm wherever possible. Social media can also be a valuable platform for cross-referencing corporate sponsorship of disabled projects and events. Regular mentions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can be very valuable as a reminder to all stakeholders of the importance of this corporate sponsorship. Finding corporate sponsorship for disability projects can be challenging, but ultimately is very rewarding for all parties involved. The twenty first century may just be the era of real inclusiveness; and we as a society can begin to honour greater things than mere sporting achievements.