Disability will have an impact on a significant portion of Americans during their lifetimes.
According to the CDC, 26%, or one in four Americans, will be diagnosed with a disability, and most will make adjustments to improve their independence and ability to live with that diagnosis.
Modern USA law has created protections and ways of enabling people living with disability, but more can always be done – disability advocates are among those who have helped to secure these protections and are always pushing for more.
A career in the field can be a great change, and one that is extremely rewarding.
A Support Network
First and foremost, those looking into a career in disability advocacy will find themselves called upon to build strong support networks.
Baltimore-based disability advocates CPFN note the importance of support, with particular reference drawn to cerebral palsy, noting how the simple act of always having someone on hand can provide a profound level of independence to people living with disability.
This can also be said through the provision of cerebral palsy resources or those relevant to the disability in question.
Indeed, the ongoing pattern of isolation being followed across the world has brought with it the unwanted specter of those support networks being impacted, as Forbes outlines.
A would-be disability advocate should first and foremost have great organizational and people skills to enable them to provide this assistance.
Support is one step – legal recourse is another.
While federal and state disability protections do, in theory, protect individuals, uneven enforcement of these rules can mean that people are left wanting in reality.
This is a primary reason why the National Center on Disability and Journalism reports the existence of nearly 100 major advocacy organizations, both in the legal and public pressure fields.
Qualifications in human rights, legal disciplines and public policy can be a great background for a disability advocate.
As well as securing the enforcement of current regulations, disability advocates highlight where there are holes in current policy that create potentially discriminatory practices.
The Supreme Court has adjudicated numerous issues that have come to form important legislation, and many of these causes were progressed by disability advocates.
A progressive mindset and analytical skills to identify gaps in protections for people living with disability is a final, but crucial, part of the advocate skill set.
Disability advocacy is selfless but high profile. A person with the right set of skills can stand to flourish in such a role, and do a great deal of good for the world in the process.
With the country needing advocates now more than ever, it’s a great time to get into the industry.