Archive for category Caregivers

[WEB SITE] Hidden signs of depression: How to spot them and what to do

Recognizing the hidden signs of depression

 

Some people with depression may try to hide the signs from others, or they may not even realize that they have depression. Although the typical symptoms of depression, such as sadness or hopelessness, can be easy to recognize, there are symptoms that may be less obvious.

In this article, we discuss some of the possible hidden signs of depression. However, it is important to note that some of these signs can also indicate other medical issues.

We also cover what healthcare professionals believe to be common causes of depression, what a person should do if they think they or someone else has depression, and some sources of help for people with depression.

 

Appetite and weight changes

A man eating at his desk. A hidden sign of depression can include appetite and weight changes.

Hidden signs of depression can include appetite and weight changes.

These changes in food intake can cause a person to start gaining or losing weight.

Dramatic weight changes can also exacerbate depression, as they can affect a person’s self-esteem.

There may also be physiological factors at play. For example, there is a link between carrying excess fat and increased inflammation in the body. This, in turn, may play a role in the development or increased severity of depressive symptoms.

 

Changes in sleep habits

There is a strong link between mood and sleep. A lack of sleep can contribute to depression, and depression can make it more difficult to sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with insomnia are 10 times more likely to have depression than those without the condition.

Sleeping too much can also be a sign that a person may have depression.

 

Alcohol or drug use

Some people with mood disorders may use alcohol or drugs to cope with their feelings of sadness, loneliness, or hopelessness.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) report that in the United States, around 1 in 5 people with anxiety or a mood disorder such as depression also have an alcohol or substance use disorder.

Conversely, the same number of those with an alcohol or substance use disorder also have a mood disorder

Fatigue

Feeling excessively tired is a very common symptom of depression. Some research suggests that over 90% of people with depression experience fatigue.

Although everyone feels tired from time to time, people who have severe or persistent tiredness — especially if it accompanies other symptoms — may have hidden depression.

 

Forced happiness

Sometimes, people refer to hidden depression as “smiling depression.” This is because people who hide their symptoms may put on a happy face when in the company of others.

However, it can be difficult to keep up this forced happiness, so the mask may slip and a person may show signs of sadness, hopelessness, or loneliness.

 

Less optimistic than others

woman looking around in an office.

Studies suggest that people with depression may have more pessimistic tendencies.

People with depression may also be more pessimistic. Studies suggest that those with major depressive disorder often have a more negative view of the future.

Being more realistic or pessimistic than others may be one sign of depression, especially if the person has other possible symptoms of depression.

 

Loss of concentration

When a person trails off during conversations or loses their train of thought, it can indicate issues with memory and concentration, which is a common symptom of depression.

2014 study suggests that these difficulties with concentration and focus can worsen the social impact of depression by making work life and personal relationships more challenging.

 

Disinterest in hobbies

The National Institute of Mental Health list a “loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities” as one of the telltale symptoms of depression.

Disinterest in activities that a person used to enjoy can be one of the first signs that other people notice when their loved one has depression.

 

Physical pains and health disorders

Depression is a mental health condition, but it can also have physical consequences. In addition to weight changes and fatigue, other physical symptoms of hidden depression to look out for include:

  • backache
  • chronic pain conditions
  • digestive problems
  • headache

Research also indicates that those with major depression are more likely than those without the condition to experience:

 

Being angry or irritable

Many people do not associate anger and irritability with depression, but these mood changes are not unusual among those with the condition.

Instead of appearing sad, some people with hidden depression may display irritability and overt or suppressed anger.

 

Low sex drive

According to Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women’s Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD, some health professionals consider changes in sex drive a key indicator for diagnosing episodes of major depression.

There are several reasons that a person’s libido might decrease when they have depression, including:

  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as sex
  • fatigue and low energy levels
  • low self-esteem

 

Common causes of depression

Scientists do not yet know the exact cause of depression. However, many experts think that several factors play a role in its onset, including:

  • Genetics: Depression can run in families. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a person’s risk for developing it themselves.
  • Biological and chemical differences: Physical changes or chemical imbalances in the brain may contribute to the development of depression.
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body may cause or trigger depression. For example, many women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
  • Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can trigger an episode of depression in some people.
  • Personality traits: Having low self-esteem or being pessimistic, for example, may increase the risk of depression.
  • Other illnesses: Having another mental or physical health condition or taking certain medications can increase the risk of depression.

 

What to do if you think you have hidden depression

ladies socialising over food.

Spending time with others can help treat depression.

Other steps to treat depression might include:

  • reducing stress, such as through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga
  • improving self-esteem through positive self-affirmations
  • socializing with others (though this can be challenging with depression)
  • engaging in activities that the person used to enjoy or attempting to identify new activities that they may be interested in
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a balanced diet
  • asking family or friends for support
  • joining a support group

 

What to do if a loved one has hidden depression

If a loved one appears to have signs of hidden depression, try to talk to them about their symptoms and offer nonjudgmental support and advice.

This can include:

  • encouraging them to seek treatment
  • offering to accompany them to appointments
  • planning enjoyable activities together
  • exercising together
  • encouraging them to socialize with others

People looking after someone with depression also need to practice good self-care in order to preserve their own mental well-being.

 

Getting help for depression

People with symptoms of depression should consider seeking help from a loved one or a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or psychotherapist.

Other sources of help for people with mental health conditions and mood disorders include the ADAA’s website and Mental Health America’s list of support groups.

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

 

Summary

Not everyone with depression will display the typical symptoms of sadness and despair.

Sometimes, the only signs a person may show are physical, such as fatigue, insomnia, or weight changes.

Other signs of hidden depression can include using alcohol or drugs, acting irritable or angry, and losing interest in pleasurable activities such as sex and hobbies.

People concerned that a loved one has hidden depression should try talking to them about their symptoms and offering nonjudgmental support and advice.

Individuals who suspect that they have depression should consider discussing it with a friend or mental health professional.

There are also a number of organizations that provide support to those dealing with depression.

 

via Hidden signs of depression: How to spot them and what to do

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[BLOG POST] One Is The Loneliest Number – after TBI Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

By Bill Herrin

TBI can make you feel isolated

One of the most unsettling things I see in the TBI community is when survivors feel isolated and lonely. There have been heart-wrenching posts and comments on our blog site about families that shun (or brush off) their own family members that have experienced a traumatic brain injury. Worse yet, I’ve heard people say that they are totally on their own because they just don’t have emotional support from family (or friends). There is no way that I can offer a solution that will work for everybody – for that matter, even for one survivor…but I’m gonna try to give some pointers that can alleviate some of the frustration and hurt that’s caused by loneliness and the things that can make it feel even worse.

It’s hard work

The very first thing I’ve recognized as the rallying cry of survivors is “you don’t know it unless you’ve experienced it” – and that surely is true. Letting people know how your brain injury feels is like describing the color and texture of an abstract painting to a blind person. They have no point of reference to even work with.  To many, the conditions, effects, and feelings experienced by a TBI survivor are inexplicable in words…although some are able to do it. I will be referencing a book offered by Lash & Associates Publishing to help find ways to combat the depression and anxiety that survivors experience, to find ways to cope, and to encourage caregivers as well.

In the book titled “Lost & Found” – a brain injury survivor herself, offers these succinct nuggets of wisdom:  “Healing and rehabilitating from a brain injury takes a long time. It continues long after formal rehabilitation has ended. It is the hardest work I have ever done. It requires endless courage, determination, motivation, and
support. It usually involves rebuilding multiple areas of not just your life but also your being – all at once. How could there be an easy solution for all of that!

Brain injury doesn’t have to be a destination. It is a journey. Let it be only part of who you are to become. “Don’t accept timetables for recovery.”

— Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., Neuroanatomist

The Key is Incremental Strategy

Follow your heart...and find progress.

Strategies are key in making “baby steps” toward better cognition, a better mood, a better outlook, and a better life. Much progress can be made with encouragement from friends or family…but what about those that don’t have that kind of social “safety net”? Be encouraged. Your will to improve is the key to doing the right things and working to get the right results. As always, there will be naysayers that will immediately point out that “you’ve been this way for a long time” or “you’re wasting your time.” Well, with that kind of encouragement, you’ll be better off doing your best – one step forward at a time. Don’t even consider the steps backward…life hands those to everyone anyway!

Incremental strategies are the ticket to incremental change. Biting off more than you can chew is not a good plan! Start off small, find strategies that work for YOU, and repetition is a good thing. If you’re repeating a step, and you know that you are…that’s a great thing! If you recall how your brain used to process information, but you realize that it has changed…good for you! That is a baseline for working on your cognition. Remember, working in tandem with your doctors, therapists, caregivers, etc. is also very important. You’re not going to make measurable progress without someone that can see your “mile markers” and take note of them. Caregivers can also help with that.

Here’s an excerpt from Lost & Found that is a prime example of working toward healing: “Know that in time, as you heal, it won’t always be this hard. You won’t have to plan and strategize each and every little step you take. So remember you are healing, imagine yourself with a cast on your head and be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like you would any loved one with a serious health issue.

Remember to reward yourself for every successful task and effort, no matter how small. Pat yourself on the back and take a break doing something that will make you smile. We have to be our own cheerleaders now, like the supportive people in our lives were when we were growing up.”

Wow…that’s powerful, but also takes grit and determination. Believing in yourself is always easier when you have cheerleaders – but for those who don’t, that excerpt makes a lot of sense.

Believe.

Emotional healing can come through a combination of things – here are a few (a more detailed version is available in the book, Lost & Found), but here’s a brief Believe in yourselfoverview… Keep a grateful journal or victory log; Discover your “inner poet” by writing phrases that are meaningful to you; Journaling about your day can help you build confidence and see progress; Keep your perspective by noting improvements on a calendar; Challenge and learn from negative thoughts; Take time to smile; Forgive yourself – can’t do what you used to do? You’re only human! Remember that you’re still the same unique and valuable person that you always were; Try to have positive people around you…that supports your life moving in a positive direction; Work with art. Creative outlets are rewarding and fun. These are things that encourage and grow you as a person – with or without others’ approval.

Many times, people in your life are grieving the loss of the “old you” and trying to establish how to interact with the “new you” – just like you are. That can also make an awkward transition for family and friends. Seeking spiritual counsel can be a huge boost as well – if you attend a church, synagogue, etc., or want to…that could be a great way to grow your positivity in life and make some new acquaintances too.

Here’s another excerpt from Lost & Found:  “Keep in mind that your family members and friends may be grieving too. They have lost the person you used to be and the roles you used to play in their lives. They don’t know how much of your former self will return, or when.”

And a quote from the same book: “Honoring your feelings is what helps you move beyond the pain.”

— Janelle Breese-Biagioni

This last excerpt from the book really sums up what so many TBI survivors need to hear…

“Remember you are healing, even if you can’t see a wound! Think of your brain in a cast, as it would be if you broke any other part of your body. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t expect yourself to run a marathon right away, even if you were previously a marathon runner. First, you would be in a cast and you would rest a lot. Then you would start walking with crutches on even surfaces. The next step might be walking with a cane. You get the idea; it would take a lot of healing before you could run again, never mind run a marathon! Most of us try to run marathons with our brains all the time!

Work to make good things happen.

You won’t be able to do everything you used to, at least not right away. Everything will be harder and take a lot longer to do than it used to. You can compensate by cutting back, simplifying and being kind and patient with yourself. Avoid the tendency to push yourself too hard. Rehabilitation is a delicate balance between challenging yourself enough to promote healing and not so much that you have discouraging setbacks.

So picture yourself with a cast on your head and remember to rest, celebrate the smallest gains and balance out all the hard work with something that makes you smile, every day. You are engaged in one of the toughest challenges of your life, if not the hardest but it will get easier in time.”

Root for the Home Team…YOU!

In closing, the hardest takeaway from all this is that “going it alone” is hard but doing it without positive people surrounding you may be even harder. Cheerleaders are great, but they have to be rooting for the home team…and you’re the captain of the home team! Make the best choices that you possibly can and be encouraged – knowing that if all else doesn’t go as planned, you can rely on yourself to try and make things better. And you can also claim all of the credit. As always, be sure to let your doctor(s) know your intentions, and hopefully, they’ll be excited for your long-term efforts to improve. TBI is tiring, overloading, depressing at times, and can cause irrational behavior. With all that said, there’s always room to plan for incremental change.

Here’s a great and inspirational quote from Beverly Bryant:

“Being a brain injury survivor = Being a stranger in a familiar place.”

Amen to that!

 

If you’d like to know more about the Lash & Associates book titled “Lost & Found”…just click this link!

via One Is The Loneliest Number – after TBI Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

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[Booklet] Parenting after brain injury – PDF

by Dr Alex Goody

Image result for Parenting after brain injury

This booklet has been written to help those parents
who have had a brain injury understand how their injury
has affected them in their role as a parent.

 

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[WEB SITE] Parenting After Brain Injury

Parenting After Brain Injury

Parenting is a challenging life role for all people, yet one of the most valued roles within society. Brain Injury frequently occurs at a life stage where people are yet to complete their parenting responsibilities. For people with acquired brain injury (ABI), facing cognitive, physical, communication, behavioural and psychological challenges, parenting can present complex challenges. In addition, persons with ABI often face societal and environmental barriers. These fact sheets have been developed to assist parents with an ABI and their partners to improve their knowledge and skills to meet the ongoing challenges of parenting. family walking together
little girl finger painting boy doing his homework two little girls arguing

Encouraging your
Developing Child

Setting Routines

Managing Behaviour

Other Useful Parenting Website Links and Resources

Parenting Fact Sheet References and Acknowledgements
Return to Support for Families

Contact ABIOS
abios@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 20 March 2017

via Parenting After Brain Injury | Queensland Health

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[WEB SITE] imHere Homepage – mHealth Platform for Self-management

IMHERE

Interactive Mobile Health and Rehabilitation

iMHere is an mHealth platform promoting clinician-guided self-care to patients with chronic diseases. Internet accessibility provides a secure bridge between patients’ smartphone applications and a web-based clinician portal, and successfully empowers patients to perform subjective self-care and preventative measures. The app was designed to send monitorial data to the portal and also receive output regarding self-care regimens as recommended by the attending clinician. The combination of interactive, real-time medical monitoring with patient control offers a powerful, unique solution for patients living with chronic illnesses where cognitive and physical disabilities present significant barriers to effective self-care.

Using a web-based portal, the clinician (typically a nurse coordinator, social worker, case manager, or patient advocate) could monitor patients’ compliance with regimens and indicate self-care plans to be delivered to the patient via the app, allowing the clinician to monitor a patient’s status and intervene as needed. Clinicians could use the portal to tailor a regimen or treatment plan for each and every patient (e.g. scheduled medication, wound care instructions, etc.) and the portal would consolidate the plan to the smartphone app in real time—an advancement over existing comparable health portals which cannot push data to the app. Results of clinical implementation suggest that the iMHere app was successful in delivering values for patients and in engaging them to comply with treatment. In the first 6 months of the clinical implementation, patients have been consistently using the app for self-management tasks and to follow the regimes set up by their respective clinicians. We observed that the daily usage increased significantly in the first two months (from approximately 1.3-times/day to over 3-times/day), and then plateau at around 3.5 times per day per patient. This pattern of increasing usage in the first two months and the subsequent plateau is relatively consistent across all patients. The app is currently available in Android platform with an iPhone version under development.

via imHere Homepage – mHealth Platform for Self-management

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[BLOG POST] MUSIC by Survivors/Caregivers

HOPE TBI

MUSIC by Survivors/Caregivers

Hope Survives – Cristabelle Braden

Into The Free – Lori Conti

Invisible – by Scottish Head Injury Music Support Group

Just Can’t Move On – Adrian Torbenson

Post Concussionist – A song about Traumatic Brain Injury – Vera Quijano

We’re Gonna Make It – Brain Injury Awareness Music Video – Cristabelle Braden

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[Review Article] Rehabilitation Technology: Assistance from Hospital to Home – Full Text

Abstract

Rehabilitation is essential for disabled people to achieve the highest level of functional independence, reducing or preventing impairments. Nonetheless, this process can be long and expensive. This fact together with the ageing phenomenon has become a critical issue for both clinicians and patients. In this sense, technological solutions may be beneficial since they reduce the costs and increase the number of patients per caregiver, which makes them more accessible. In addition, they provide access to rehabilitation services for those facing physical, financial, and/or attitudinal barriers. This paper presents the state of the art of the assistive rehabilitation technologies for different recovery methods starting from in-person sessions to complementary at-home activities.

1. Introduction

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population suffers some form of disability. Due to the ageing phenomenon and the prevalence of chronic diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, or mental health disorders, this percentage has incessantly increased. This fact leads to a growing demand for rehabilitation services since they play an important role in enhancing functioning, reinforcing the person’s autonomy, and improving the patient’s quality of life [12]. This demand far exceeds availability in terms of rehabilitation professionals (i.e., occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech therapists) such that the density of those professionals is greatly below the threshold required for providing adequate services (approximately a tenth of that required) [34]. Additionally, different barriers like low-income deny the access to the rehabilitation services required to live in health, comfort, and dignity. These deficiencies could be overcome with technology, reducing the need for formal support services, the time and physical burden for caregivers, and, consequently, their cost [56].

In this context, the key to technology success depends on its functionality and adaptability to the user’s needs and environment. However, rehabilitation is a broad concept covering a wide range of responses to disability. Generally speaking, rehabilitation can be defined as the step-by-step process designed to reduce disability and to optimise functioning in individuals with health conditions, enabling them to better interact with their environment. For that, rehabilitation commonly includes three aspects:(i)Physical, to regain strength, mobility, and fitness(ii)Occupational, to relearn the person’s daily activities(iii)Speech-language, to recover communication skills (i.e., speaking, understanding, reading, or writing)

The duration of the rehabilitation can vary depending on several factors such as the patient’s impairment level, the therapy intensity, or the individual activity and participation. For that reason, new ways without compromising patient wellbeing have been proposed. So, three different modalities can be found in the literature: (1) the in-person rehabilitation, where patients performs their program in presence of a therapist in an inpatient facility; (2) the combined in-person and at-home rehabilitation, where in-person rehabilitation takes place in an outpatient facility and is aided with at-home programs such that patients perform some therapeutic exercises prescribed by the clinician at home; and (3) the at-home rehabilitation, suitable for those requiring minor assistance or support, where a tailored therapy takes place entirely at home.

Focusing on the individual’s functioning, the technological solutions developed up to date have mainly aimed to physical recovery since mobility plays a main role in the independence and confidence of disabled people. More recently, research in occupational rehabilitation has emerged in response to Alzheimer’s disease and neurocognitive impairments.

This paper addresses the state-of-the-art assistive technologies for rehabilitation from the hospital to in-home programs. Despite its great importance in disabled people recovery, devices designed to replace the impaired limb (e.g., prosthetics and artificial limbs [78910] or smart wheelchairs [111213]) are not covered in this work.

2. In-Person Rehabilitation

One application of technology can be found as a support tool in the rehabilitation process. They help clinicians evaluate quantitatively the patient’s performance and progress while providing consistent training, specially for extended periods of time. This results in an increase in therapy access and a health-care cost reduction.

In this sense, Robotics has met this demand with a wide range of assistive products. For example, Andago [14] is a tool for overground gait training, bridging the gap between treadmill-based and free walking. With this technology, the patient’s fear of falling is considerably reduced while therapists focus on the therapy since they do not have to secure the patient. In a similar way, the G-EO System [15] assists therapists in patient’s motor recovery and, more specifically, in teaching patients walking again. Unlike the previous system, G-EO moves the patient’s legs when necessary to help the patient’s brain form new neuroplasticity pathways to replace the ones damaged by injury or disease. Kim and Deshpande presented in [16] HARMONY an upper-body robotic exoskeleton for rehabilitation. This exoskeleton provides natural coordinated motions on the shoulder for patients suffering from spinal and neurological injuries, including a wide range of motion and controllability of force and impedance. Several devices have been also developed for hand rehabilitation (e.g., [17181920]).

Although these robotic devices aid therapists in providing effective repetitive training and quantitative evaluation of patient’s progress, it is necessary to integrate any mechanism that makes rehabilitative exercises fun, challenging, and engaging. In this context, virtual reality (VR) and video game can fill the gap. That is, computer-based programs designed to simulate real-life objects and events in an attractive environment may engage patients to stage on track. In fact, the use of this kind of systems has been shown to be an effective mean for rehabilitation treatments since they offer clinicians the ability to control and grade tasks to challenge the user while providing them with an enriched environment to achieve high user’s engagement [2122].

From this starting point, a treadmill can be combined with VR technology. This is the case of C-Mill [23], a treadmill developed to train and assess patient’s gait and balance for a safe daily walk. It comes in three models: C-Mill, C-Mill VR, and C-Mill VR+ (Figure 1). Although he VR and VR + models use VR elements to stimulate and challenge patients, their final goal is different. That is, the C-Mill VR is aimed at training automated movements and dual tasking, whilst the C-Mill VR+ is a comprehensive solution for early to late rehabilitation with balance and body weight support.[…]

 

Continue —> Rehabilitation Technology: Assistance from Hospital to Home

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[VIDEO] How to simulate HH – YouTube

Quick and easy simulation of homonymous hemianopia/homonymous hemianopsia. Great to show loved ones and caregivers the dramatic nature of stroke related visual field loss.

via How to simulate HH – YouTube

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[Guide] LIFE AFTER STROKE Our Path Forward – American Stroke Association

THERE IS LIFE – AND HOPE – AFTER STROKE. WITH TIME, NEW ROUTINES WILL BECOME SECOND NATURE. REHABILITATION CAN BUILD YOUR STRENGTH, CAPABILITY AND CONFIDENCE. IT CAN HELP YOU CONTINUE YOUR DAILY ACTIVITIES DESPITE THE EFFECTS OF YOUR STROKE.

If you are the caregiver, family member or friend of a stroke survivor, your role is vital. You should know the prevention plan and help your loved one to comply with the plan. With a committed health care team and a rehabilitation plan specific to their needs, most stroke survivors can prevent another stroke and thrive.

We hope this guide will help you and your loved ones understand the effects of stroke and how to maximize your rehabilitation and recovery.

Download PDF file

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[NEWS] #SayTheWord ‘Disability,’ Rehab Psychologists Opine

disabilityAA

The authors of an editorial published recently in Rehabilitation Psychology challenge a trend toward erasure of the term “disability” in hopes to improve disability cultural competency.

“Attempts to avoid the use of the word ‘disability’ and couch discussions in positive terminology or euphemisms can have unintended consequences,” says Carrie Pilarski, PhD, an assistant professor of clinical psychology in the Michigan Medicine Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in a media release from Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan.

“Avoiding the term reinforces the idea that disability is a negative or undesired state.”

While the term “disability” is widely used and universally accepted, often there are other terms substituted, such as “differently abled,” “special needs,” and “physically challenged.”

“People use these terms because they see them as accentuating the strengths of people with disabilities,” she adds. “But despite the good intention, these terms are euphemisms that deny recognition of disability as a valued aspect of diversity and identity.”

In the commentary, Pilarski and her co-authors analyze the history of disability language, attitudes around disability language and disability as an identity, to demonstrate why the term “disability” is an important part of disability culture.

While Pilarski notes that avoiding the term “disability” has the unintended consequence of reinforcing ideas that disability is negative, the authors also explain the harmful effects of focusing on individuals with disabilities as inspirational.

“We want readers to understand that there is such a thing as ‘inspiration porn’ and this serves to objectify individuals with disabilities for inspiration,” she shares. “We also discuss balancing using person-first and identity-first language to help support the recognition that disability is an aspect of identity.”

In addition, the authors discuss the role of social media in disability identity and social justices.

“Social media has truly invigorated the disability justice movement,” Pilarski continues, in the release. “There have been many viral hashtags for disability issues, such as #cripthevote, #iamapreexistingcondition and #thisiswhatdisabilitylookslike, that have helped not only with personal identity, but with highlighting the culture and recognizing the history of oppression, especially at a time when disability rights and services are being rolled back on a national level.”

A campaign created to reclaim the term “disability” is #SayTheWord, the authors continue.

“#SayTheWord was created by people with disabilities to claim the term disability as a valued aspect of diversity, support solidarity within the disability community, and encourage those without a disability to stop tiptoeing around the term and use it,” Pilarski says.

“This campaign is very much encouraging disabled people to reclaim our identities, our community and our pride.”

The #SayTheWord movement is also helping to highlight social injustices in the disability community, the authors note, in the commentary.

“We also discuss in the commentary the role of psychology in supporting the understanding of disability as an aspect of diversity with social justice implications similar to other marginalized groups, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the Me Too movement,” Pilarski comments.

“We’re not trying to make comparisons or to equate experiences when we reference these other groups,” she says. “We’re saying that failure to recognize disability as an aspect of diversity, similar to other marginalized groups, also has unintended consequences of reducing supports available for individuals with disabilities and their formation of a positive disability identity.”

The authors hope their commentary sparks more conversation between the disability community and mainstream media and improves cultural competency.

“Being reflective and understanding the sociopolitical implications of language on disability serves as a call to action for clinicians, educators, and all disability allies to normalize the word ‘disability’ and challenge the stigma associated with it. We should speak out against offensive language and the tendency to replace the word disability with euphemisms or using disability for inspiration,” Pilarski shares.

“Psychologists and other providers or mentors should honor others’ language preference while opening up a dialogue about the underlying attitudes and beliefs that shape their preferred selection of terminology.

“We hope that future research can center on disabled voices in order to support solidarity in the disability community, pride in disability identity and activism for social justice with reclaiming equal access and rights in legislation and policies,” she concludes.

[Source(s): Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan, EurekAlert]

Source: #SayTheWord ‘Disability,’ Rehab Psychologists Opine


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