When I first came to DCIL in 2007, I wanted nothing to do with helping to plan my budget or pay my bills. I made sure my bills were sent directly to them and then I stayed out of it. At that particular point in my life my Bipolar Disorder was ruling my life. As long as they paid the bills and we received our spending money and grocery money that was all I cared about.
Slowly as I was getting better I began to want to know more about what was going on with my money and have a little more input about it. But how do you start to do that when you have gone years not having any control at all? I started asking how much I had in my accounts. I would ask for a little extra money for things that I wanted. Yes, sometimes I felt like a child asking a parent for money, but it did get easier. I realized this was in place to help and protect me. It was still my money. I would get statements at the end of the month so I knew where my accounts stood. I started helping figure out my budget and then came the time when I felt ready to try and have more responsibility. So we decided together to start taking out my spending money all in one shot and I was responsible for that. What an exciting move that was for me! I made out envelopes for every week and I divide up my money. I was so proud of myself because I have been successful in that. We kept doing that for quite a few months and I kept getting better. In time, I felt ready to try more. The next step we took was to try getting all my monthly grocery money. Every little step to me is exciting because I never thought I would ever get to this point. It has been going so well.
Next, I asked if I could write the checks out. DCIL still had to sign them but at least I could physically write them. I had not done that in years. They said I could and I was so happy!! I know who would be happy about paying bills right? I am. Once I started writing my own checks I started feeling more like a regular person. They allowed me to make more decisions when it came to my money. I felt normal. This has all led up to me being able to open my own checking account and pay the bills myself; something I have not done in so many years, yet I know they are still here if I fall. They have given me the tools and the confidence to know I can do this and succeed at it. I have fought hard to get where I am and it feels so good to finally be here. Managing my own money has been one of the best experiences I have gained from DCIL and I am so glad they have been here to help me.
How common are substance abuse disorders among persons with disabilities? According to the Office of Disability, 10 percent of adults in the general population are affected by alcohol, and 5 percent have problems with drugs. By comparison:
- People with disabilities experience drug or alcohol problems at two to four times the rate of the general populace.
- People who are deaf or who suffer from arthritis or multiple sclerosis are twice as likely as the general population to develop a drug or alcohol problem.
- Forty to 50 percent of people with spinal cord injuries, amputations, orthopedic disabilities or impaired vision who use alcohol can be classified as heavy drinkers.
- At least 50 percent of disabled individuals with mental illness, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries abuse drugs of alcohol.
The Office of Disability also notes that there are differences in the rates of substance abuse based on the nature of the disability. People with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries have a substantially higher risk of getting addicted to drugs or alcohol. People with developmental disabilities tend to have the lowest risk of substance abuse.
For those who make it successfully through a drug or alcohol treatment program, many of the disabled experience multiple relapses and don’t achieve long-term recovery. The continued frustrations of trying to access treatment services keep many of the handicapped from staying clean and sober. Getting reintegrated into the community after drug and alcohol rehab can also be more difficult for a disabled person, who may not be able to find meaningful work or maintain strong relationships with sober friends.
Obstacles to Recovery
As if it weren’t hard enough for a person with no disabilities to recover from substance abuse, the disabled have to overcome a number of obstacles just to get into treatment. From prevention to treatment, persons with disabilities are at a disadvantage, notes the Office of Disability:
- Educational materials about drug and alcohol abuse may not be accessible to people with visual disabilities.
- Informational pamphlets and brochures may be written at a reading level that’s too high for someone with a learning disability.
- Substance abuse prevention materials typically display examples of people who don’t have disabilities, which creates the impression that persons with disabilities aren’t at risk.
- For disabled persons who don’t drive, treatment centers may be located too far from home for easy access on public transportation.
- Community self-help group meetings may be held in buildings that aren’t accessible to people with limited mobility.
- Social insensitivity may discourage the disabled from taking part in group therapy with non-disabled individuals.
When it comes to clinical research on substance abuse, people who have disabilities are often left out of clinical studies, unless the study specifically targets persons with disabilities. On almost every level of substance abuse prevention and treatment, resources for persons with disabilities currently fall short of their needs.
Teaching Addiction Counselors to Help the Persons with Disabilities
Providing individual or group counseling for persons with disabilities requires sensitivity to the needs and limitations of this population, states Counselor Magazine (http://www.counselormagazine.com/). Addiction professionals who work with the disabled must be aware of the physical and cognitive challenges they face and must learn to integrate these challenges into treatment.
Getting ready to go back to school is a fun and exciting time for most parents and students, but for some it can cause a lot of anxiety and stress just thinking about it. As parents we want our children to succeed and enjoy going back to school but how do we do that if they have disabilities that cause them so much anxiety that their behaviors have become overwhelming?
When a child has anything from Anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Autism, Developmental Disorders or any other physical or mental issues, going back to school can seem like a very scary place. So we as parents need to take the time and do what we can to make this transition just a little bit easier for our children.
What can we do? Every child needs to have a good routine that they can count on. Have a little chart that they can understand so they can do some of the tasks themselves to get ready for school the next day, or get ready for bed. It will help ease a little of the anxiety. No one is perfect and we will miss a night or two, but as long as we get most of the nights right, our kids will do better. As hard as it is if we try not to be in a rush in the morning it will make our children more confident. If we start this practice before school starts they will be ready for that first day.
Drive around the school they are attending, especially if they have not been there before. Play on the playground. Let your child get a feel of the school when there are not so many other children around. Have a routine for homework after school so they know what will happen. The more children understand what is going on the less anxious they are. When it comes to school supplies a lot of the schools put all the pencils into a large container and everyone uses them, and for someone like my son that is hard. So I had to make him understand that at school we bought some pencils that would probably be shared. Then I bought some special pencils for homework that were just his. Most importantly, just talk to your kids. You know when something is not right. Keep up on their medication and keep in their life and back to school will be a fun time for them and you.
Join us in celebrating the 26th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There will be games and food for as long as it lasts. When and where? Tuesday, July 26h from 5:00-7:00 pm, Eagles Park Universal Playground, Mandan, ND. For more info call 222-3636.
On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the American with Disabilities Act into law which helped millions of Americans with both physical and mental disabilities to have the same opportunities as all other Americans. Also known as ADA, this allowed for access to public transportation, access into public buildings and not being discriminated against for employment due to your disability.
Without this law many of us would not enjoy our lives we have today. Some of us would not be able to get around and see friends or family, go and get even simple things like groceries, or just enjoy being outdoors. Even just getting to the doctor would be difficult. We could not participate in our local government programs and it would isolate us and make us feel lonely. Some of us would not have made through school either. There are so many things we have been able to do because of this and we need to keep fighting for those rights.
Even though we have some limitations in what we may be able to do, there are many things that we can bring to the table and are able to do just in different and unique ways if given the chance. That is what the ADA does for us. It gives us the opportunity to show that we can do it.
So come out and celebrate how far we have come with ending the discrimination against those with disabilities. Enjoy some food, games, friendship and have a great time at the new Eagles Park Universal Playground located at 100 14th St. NE, Mandan. It will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on July 26, 2016. Hope to see you there!!
Several states say they will work together in effort to offer new accounts that will allow people with disabilities to save money without risking their government benefits. Nine states have joined forces as they work to make ABLE accounts available to the public.
ABLE accounts were authorized with the federal passage of the Achieving a Better Life Act in 2014, but each state has to approve their own legislation and create regulations before offering them. To date, 40 states and Washington, D.C. have approved legislation to create ABLE accounts, but no state has made the program available as of yet.
State officials say they will be able to attract better quality investment products at a lower cost by uniting in a consortium. The states plan to work together to offer investment options, but each will operate its own ABLE program.
The states committed to participating in the consortium include Alaska, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. It is thought that are states are considering joining. Together, the states say they will leverage the potential of over 47 million residents.
Without such a consortium, it is thought that there would be too few people eligible in each individual state for ABLE accounts to attract the best offerings.
States have begun preparing to offer ABLE accounts. As this process has begun, a new website is launching to help families navigate the offerings.
The site from the ABLE National Resource Center is designed as a one-stop shop for families as well as financial professionals and program administrators. It has information about laws, regulations and product offerings in each state.
To date, 35 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation regarding ABLE accounts, but each are in varying degrees of implementation. The first offering is expected to be available as soon as March.
A change to federal tax law late last year allows people with disabilities to take advantage of accounts offered by any state, no matter where they live. Each state program is thought to be unique which means that one program or another could be advantageous to different individuals depending on their circumstances.
This is where the resource center could really come in handy for families. The site will be able to compare one program to another by using a list of 15 to 20 variables that beneficiaries and families would want to take into consideration when choosing a program.
So far, the resource center website includes information about the law, ABLE accounts, who qualifies and particulars of each state’s legislation. More information will be added as states begin rolling out their offerings.
Advocates say they expect Ohio, Nebraska, Virginia, Florida and Tennessee to be among the first states to make ABLE accounts available.