Saturday, October 18, 2008

Disability and Self Esteem...

My last blog talks about Disability and Not Married. This topic talks about
Disability and Self Esteem.

Some people with Disability have no problem with their self esteem. They are happy,
positive, and accept themselves as they are. They have no problem communicating
with people. They have no problem socialized. They tend to have a sense of humor
that makes them stay happy about themselves and to cheer other people as well. They
don't let their disability interfere with their self esteem and are successful.

Other people with disability with low esteem tends to have problems. They are not
happy, they are not positive about themselves as they are. They tend to feel negative
about themselves. They tend to feel down and low about themselves. They tend to feel
bad about their disability and feel it gets in a way of how they feel.

When I was at National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), I was a sophomore.
A woman from Wisconsin came to learn more about deaf people with disability at
NTID. She interview me and another student about how we were doing at NTID. I told
her I was doing fine. She ask me how do I handle school with my Cerebral Palsy and deafness. I told her I have no problem dealing with education along with my Cerebral Palsy. She told me she had a client that time that was in a wheelchair. She told me that her client has negative thoughts and very low self esteem. She said her client even has problem doing her school work especially Math. She said her client thinks she can't do anything successfully because of her Cerebral Palsy. In another words, her client does not have positive attitude about herself. I was shock and sadness when I hear about her client. I told her that I have positive attitude about myself and always think positive. I told her to tell her client to think positive and to be positive about herself. Part of me wish that I thought about asking her to go to Wisconsin to talk with her client about her low self esteem. I never did ask but I wish I did. I know I can't turn the time back and tell her that. I was so busy that time focusing on my education at NTID.

I know there are people out there with disability that has low self esteem. It is not just as simple as taking the person to the gas station and fill them up with a special gas called "High Self Esteem" like High Octane to solve their esteem problem. It does take patient and work help the person self esteem problem. It takes lots of positive communication and lot of encouragement to help the person improves their self esteem. It could also require counseling because it involves communications and how to deal with different feelings involving the person self esteem. The communication itself has to be Open Communication with no criticizing or negative feedback. For example, suppose the client can't shot a basketball through the hoop. You can't say "You are not thinking right or you are not shooting the correct way" like in a wrong way that could discourage the client to shot the basketball again. They feel that kind of message tells them they will never be able to make another basketball shot into the hoop. It is best to say something like,
"That is good shot and you try". "Can I help you or give you some suggestion to improve shooting the basketball into the hoop?" A positive encouragement and a positive help makes the person feels better with positive support. A positive feedback makes them feel good that they are trying. After a while, the person will make the basketball shot through the hoop with positive encouragement. They will feel good that they made the shot.

That kind of suggestion I mention can apply to anything that the person with disability is trying to do well. The same can go for when the person is doing Math, Art or whatever the person is doing. A positive communication and positive encouragement will help them get better. They might not get the Math successful as it might not be their area but they will learn that they try with positive words. They will know with positive feeling that some other people can't do math well but are successful. For example, Elbert Einstein could do complicated things but was
unfamiliar with some math that he never understood. So there are people that can't do things well but have skills for other area.

Any disability with low self esteem should try to change that attitude with positive thoughts and positive encouragement from other people. They should be told from others that people love them regardless of their disability. They should feel that other care about them and they are a wonderful person no matter what. All those positive saying, positive support, and positive encouragement will help the person. Always have the open communication and help them. After a while, when they get to be successful, they won't worry about their low self esteem because they have change it to a Positive or High Self Esteem. They won't think about those low self esteem once they are successful. They will be happy to be successful with people around that that loves, support and encourage them to be success. I had all of that that made me successful at NTID. I had my family, friends, and many different people that help me be successful.

With the high self esteem I have, I have successfully gotten a High School Diploma even with 11 out of 12 years in Special education grades. I also have two different college degrees: AAS degree in Data Processing at NTID which is now called Applied Computer Technology even through they have different courses now and BS degree from Gallaudet University in Computer Information System. I am also married for 17 years with two children. So my Cerebral Palsy is never in the way of my self esteem with all those support and where I am today.

I hope this blog helps other with their self esteem and get help to be successful. Never let their self esteem get in the way of being a successful person. Since I have high self esteem, the others can to with all the things I mention in this blog.


kim said...

This is a wonderful post!! I used to have trouble with my self-esteem when I was younger. I was embarrassed to have hearing loss.

Some of the reason why is because of the way I grew up-- feeling the need to be very independent because I was on my own a lot as a child depending on my own actions and choices. As an adult I saw a counselor and it became clear my biggest fear with hearing loss was that I feared depending on other people, since I learned as a child to depend on myself. When my hearing went I felt betrayed by my own body in a way. This is hard to explain.

But anyway, after I started working again I felt much, much better about my situation because I realized I could depend on myself, even with hearing loss. Also I met other disabled people who had positive attitudes and they inspired me. I learned from them that there's no shame in asking for help when you need it or in admitting you can't do everything. I don't want to take up all your space here and wanted to keep this short, but you have a lot of insight, and I just wanted to add my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Great post. It's interesting to know that building self-confidence can be as easy as ABC. Interestingly enough, offer good tips too. Might be interesting to check it out.

Matthew Byrne said...

Excellent writing James from you brother Matt! I have always known how positive a person you are and how you have not let your handicap deter you from your goals. I especially like the way you encouarge others to choose there words carefully. Imagine how much better the world would be if more people would show more kindness and sensitivity in speaking and interacting with others.

Anonymous said...


I am very impressed with your blog and your insight. Your high level of self esteem has provided you with the fortitude to overcome many more obstacles than any of your brothers and I am very proud of your accomplishments!

John (Brother #1)

P.S. I have enjoyed reading your other posts and the comments that have also been posted!