Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Psychosocial Issues in the Disability Culture

Last week we discussed some of the psychosocial implications in which having a disability in Ghana may result. First and foremost, we discussed the social stigma associated with physical disabilities and other diseases, most notably AIDS. There are stigmas associated with physical disabilities in all cultures generally stemmed from how a person looks, moves, or ambulates. People with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) are commonly assumed to have intellectual disabilities simply because their physicality can lead to mistaken assumptions. Neither Cerebral Palsy or ALS affect a person's cognition. These assumptions can have vast negative impacts on a person's psyche and especially in areas such as Africa, I'm sure we will run into instances where people have been discriminated against due to a misunderstood physical disability. AIDS is a disease in which people are especially discriminated against, to the point of being shunned from their village. In addition to the psychosocial impacts, this introduces health concerns.

While we're in Ghana, I'm certain that we'll encounter differing views on disability and I only hope that I can not only understand their views but perhaps provide understanding of different disabilities.

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