Moving to a new town or city to attend college is challenging enough for the average person, and for people living with disability, those challenges can quickly multiply. Furthermore, many colleges don’t do enough to support people living with disability, according to NBC, which profiled a group of students advocating for stronger protections. People living with disability build up support and care networks in their hometowns in order to help them achieve greater independence; replicating that at college is a key goal for those moving into higher education.
Finding medical support
One of the most important factors in managing a disability is good quality health care. Indeed, for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy physical therapy is crucial. As outlined by the World Health Organization, people living with a disability often face stigma in procuring support, which leads to poor quality care and, in turn, reduced independence. In the worst-case situations, physical therapy can be actively harmful if conducted by an untrusted therapist. This is a challenge when moving to college, as a new city, or state can be difficult to navigate. Before heading out, it can be worthwhile to look up medical care plans in the local area, and perhaps liaise with insurers and federal support agencies to create a care plan that will ensure there’s no disruption in care.
There are also numerous accessibility barriers preventing people living with disability from becoming fully independent. The good news is that accessible measures are legally mandated, and recent Justice Department memorandums show that infringements are aggressively pursued by the state. Prior research on accessibility adjustments is important, but knowing your rights, and being willing to challenge the institution over any lack of provision, is also a vital principle.
Finding support networks
While physical adjustments are a big part of creating independent lives for disabled people, there is equally a need for social support. The emotional and psychological support provided by genuine friends and advocates is crucial, as is the vigilance and strength that friendly faces can provide when times are tough. The internet has made creating and maintaining country-spanning support networks relatively easy, but it’s important to also look for in-person networks at educational institutions.
College is a life-changing experience, providing skills, career opportunities, and social ties that enable people to greater heights. Putting these blocks into place will mean that the business of college life can commence with confidence.