Social Work with Disabled

People who have mental and physical disabilities face many challenges in everyday life. They have the same needs as others; they need a satisfying job, adequate income, friendship and comfortable housing, etc but unfortunately, the prevailing social attitude towards them is unhealthy.

disability social worker is a type of healthcare social worker who helps people with physical and mental disabilities cope with the challenges in their daily lives. The problems they face depend on the type of impairment and the severity of their disability.

A professional social worker is always there to help them. Using a variety of skills, techniques and many activities related to their need, they help them to improve their environment and individuals with a holistic focus. The main aim of the social worker is, to identify the needs and problems of a client like; provide emotional and social support, empower the disabled persons and their families to enhance their quality of life, to provide social inclusion and community living, employment, quality education and proper rehabilitation.

The primary area of Social Work intervention is therapeutic work. Different therapeutic methods can be used by social workers such as casework, meditation, counseling, group work, crisis intervention, family therapy, solution focused Brief Therapy and Bereavement Work. Social workers work with individuals with a disability, with families who have a child or family member with a disability as well as with communities both domestically and internationally.

Social work theory and practice in the field of disability has been greatly influenced by values and philosophy of the independent living movement. This movement has shifted practice from creation of clients dependent on service controlled by professionals to work in partnership with the disabled people to secure their rights as equal citizens of the country.

There are more than 700 million people with disabilities worldwide and 200 million are children, 450 million live in developing countries and 80 million in Africa. The World Health Organisation (2002) reported that about 40 per cent of Africa’s population consists of people with disabilities, including 10-15% of school age children. This percentage translates to about 300 million people with disabilities in Africa. Burton (1996) notes that people with disabilities have been treated like outcasts for over 100 years and whatever attention is drawn to them, it is only with sympathy and pity.

As per the country's latest statistics, an estimated 2.1 percent of the Indian population has a disability; a humbling figure of over 26 million people. A person can face disability — intellectually and physically — at any point in their life from medical complications or life-altering events. India is its own ministry named as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(Divyangjan)

There are Many Schemes for Divyangjan People and each state have its own schemes but some common schemes and benefits for them is listed below.

1.) Disability certificate and identity card.

2.) Education programmer for children with special needs.

3.) Children's education allowance and scholarships.

4.) Assistance to disabled persons for purchase/fitting of aids & appliances (ADIP Scheme).

5.) Preference in allotment of STD/PCO to handicapped persons.

6.) Custom concessions.

7.) Employment of the handicapped.

8.) National awards for people with disabilities.

9.) Incentives to private sector employers for providing employment to persons with disabilities.

10.) Reservation of jobs and other facilities for disabled persons.

11.) Economic assistance.

12.) Grant-in-aid schemes of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

In addition there are also many state government schemes specific to each state for the disabled in India.

Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled is one of the premier NGOs working for all issues related to the disabled people in India.

As per the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1995 - A person with disability can be defined as one with one or more of disabilities falling under any of the

Blindness:- “Blindness” refers to a condition where a person suffers from any of the following conditions namely:-

Total absence of sight; or

Visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200 (Snellen) in the better eye with correcting lenses; or

Limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degree or worse;

Cerebral Palsy:- “Cerebral Palsy” means a group of non-progressive conditions of a person characterized by abnormal motor control posture resulting from brain insult or injuries occurring in the pre-natal, peri-natal or infant period of development;

 Low vision:- ” Low vision” means a person with impairment of visual functioning even after treatment of standard refractive correction but who uses or is potentially capable of using vision for the planning or execution of  a task with appropriate assistive device;

Locomotor disability:- “Locomotor disability” means disability of the bones, joints or muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of the limbs or nay form of cerebral palsy;

Leprosy-cured:- “Leprosy-cured person” means person who has been cured of leprosy but is suffering from-

Loss of sensation in hands or feet as well as loss of sensation and paresis in the eye and eye-lid but with no manifest deformity;

Manifest deformity and paresis but having sufficient mobility in their hands and feet to enable them to engage in normal economic activity;

 Extreme physical deformity as well as advanced age which prevents him from undertaking ang gainful occupation, and the expression ‘Leprosy Cured” shall be construed accordingly;

Mental retardation:- “Mental retardation” means a conditions of arrested or incomplete development of mind of a person which is specially characterized by sub normality of intelligence;

Mental illness:- “Mental illness” means any mental disorder other than Mental retardation

Hearing Impairment:- “Hearing Impairment” means loss of sixty decibels or more in the better ear in the conversational   range of frequencies.


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