I came across this poem 10 years ago that I think is still appropriate today when you talk about people with disabilities and how well we are excepted into society.

People with physical and mental disabilities
hath been abandoned at birth,
banished from society
used as a court jesters,
drowned and burned during the Inquisition,
gassed in Nazi Germany,
and still continue to be segregated, institutionalized,
tortured in the name of behavior management,
abused, raped, euthanized, and murdered.
Now, for the first time, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place as fully contributing citizens. The danger is that we will respond with remediation and the Netherlands rather than equity and respect. And so, we offer a you

A Credo for Support

Do not see my disability as a problem.
Recognize that my disability is an attribute.

Do not see my disability as a deficit.
It is you who see me as a deviant and helpless.

Do not try to fix me because I am not broken.
Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my way.

Do not see me as your client. I and a fellow citizen.
See me as your neighbor. Remember, none of us can be self sufficient.

Do not try to modify my behavior.
Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.

Do not try to change me, you have no right.
Help me learn what I want to know.

Do not hide your uncertainty behind "professional" distance.
Be a person who listens, and does not take my struggle a way for me by trying to make it all better.

Do not use theories and strategies on me.
Be with me. And it went we struggle with each other, let that give rise to self reflection.

Do not try to control me. I have a right to my pal as a person.
What you call noncompliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do not teach me to be obedient, submissive, and polite.
I need to feel entitled to say no if I am to protect myself.

Do not be charitable towards me.
The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis.
Be my ally against those who exploit me for their own gratification.

Do not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that.
Get to know me. We may become friends.

Do not help me, even if it does make you feel good.
Asked if I need your help. Let me show you how you can best assist me.

Do not admire me. A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration.
Respect me, for respect presumes equity.

Do not tell, correct, and lead.
Listen, support, and follow.

Do not work on me.
Work with me.

This was written in 1995. The atmosphere at that time was still one where people with disabilities or thought of as second-class citizens. He ADA became law in 1990, and took effect in 1992, but people with disabilities are still a long way from being equal in the eyes of society.

Just like people with disabilities, able-bodied people who have been told over and over by others and have bought into this mentality have problems a succeeding in their personal lives because they still feel as though they are and adequate.

For many years because I grew up in a dysfunctional family where there was a lot of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse I had low self esteem. Only after studying in both the mental health and psychology fields did I learn to turn my thinking around and to believe in myself. I had to learn to rescript myself from failure to success. I was successful in doing this, because I also participated in several group therapy training: psychodrama, and transactional analysis. I hope the certification of assistant director in training for psychodrama and has studied transactional analysis, as well is, dissipating in a group using transactional analysis.

Even though we have laws on the books guaranteeing people with disabilities the right to an education and employment, Society is a long way from making people with disabilities an integral part of society. Companies in good times, still a do not hire people with disabilities, even though they will interview people with disabilities to make it look as though they are trying to comply with the law. You can not prove discrimination so it is easy for people to get away with discriminating against people with disabilities.

In the article that I quoted earlier, I referenced in Jerry Lewis. I know he is brought a lot of recognition to MDA and raised a lot of money for this organization. But early on, during the telethon they would refer to children with muscular dystrophy is posted children and helpless. Their concept has changed so that now the children are ambassadors and they talk about their accomplishments. So as a you can see there has been progress, but we still have a long way to go.

Author's Bio: 

AAS in mental health, BS in psychology, credits towards a masters in a rehabilitation counselig, training in a psychodrama, in training and transactional analysis. As a member of Toastmasters I received both the CTM and ATM certifications. As a member of NSA-Georgia chapter I participated in their mentoring program, attended the American seminar leaders Association University and received the certified seminar leader certification. I am currently working on a book No One Stands in Line to Become Disabled.