Understanding Disability


Our body of knowledge is steadfast and changing. We’re constantly grasping new ways to administer the special needs of diverse people in our lives.

The overused suspicion that disabilities, like Cerebral Palsy, for instance, take on the same characteristics is simply not practicalin fact, it’s outdated. What’s more impractical is the generalization that each situation should be handled by a fixed means.

The field of action that drives the research, efforts, and strides we work towards every day in our field does not fit a “one-size-fits-all” approach. That’s because understanding disability means recognizing that each patient is different.

We are advocates for promoting lives with as many reduced limits as possible.


The ability to spot and pick up on the reactions of others around us is a natural component of an empathetic individual with emotional maturity.

If you’re conscious of your position in someone’s life that has a disability, there are proactive decisions you can make every day to improve the quality of life that you both navigate through.

During particular situations, it’s not always clear to us how we can offer support and understanding to those in need of assistance. This especially holds in cases revolving around a friend or family member with a debilitating circumstance.


We take on so many roles in our lifetime. From siblings to spouses, from parents to friends, we are never the same person in every situation; so why expect that a loved one with a disability is? The short answer is: you don’t.

Certain activities, like feeding or bedtime, can constantly evolve, depending on the given moment. It’s up to caretakers to find patterns and ways to react to the diverse needs that each moment reveals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to confront these situations alone. Peer groups, composed of parents and caretakers of loved ones with disabilities, also look for ways to network, share, and learn with each other.

Although each person is different, there are norms we can also recognize and apply during these moments when we learn our loved one’s responses.


One example includes sensory disorders. If your loved one has trouble perceiving the sensory information around them, association kits are wonderful options to apply. This is an opportunity to include new objects each time. These kits can be assembled to improve how your loved one can assemble different materials around them. Common household items such as dried goods, large plastic or wooden spoons, craft items like pom poms or popsicle sticks, are affordable and easy to find options to include in kits.

Other disorders say, for instance, those brought on by guarded development, also respond well to interaction. When a child is left for long periods inside a seated area such as a stroller, crib, baby chair, or walker, something called “Container Baby Syndrome” can lead to developmental disorders. Isolation can lead to further development delays.

The most simple way to handle these types of disorders is through connection and attention. Supervised “tummy time” and individually-ready crawling helps children build motor skills to help their brains and neuromuscular systems develop. In other words, it’s best to take them out of their fixed position to give them a chance to interact with the world around them.

Encouraging children to interact in real-world settings such as classrooms with other children and caretakers, breeds feelings of inclusivity. When children play and share with their peers, in whichever development stage they may be in, they participate in an environment that promotes the human condition. Smiles, laughter, and cries are all responses that we are too familiar with. Children do well to recognize and respond to these same instances when they are amongst their peers.