Therapy for Teens with Physical Disabilities
Does Your Teen Feel Left Out Because Of Their Physical Disability?
Has your teenager been having a hard time coping with their differences? Do they feel marginalized and excluded because of a physical disability? Maybe every Sunday night, they’re worried about going to school because of the way other people view them. Perhaps they feel like the subject of pity or condescension—even when others try to be kind, they treat your teen differently. Maybe your teen feels defined by their disability, as if other people can never see them for who they really are.
Whether your teenager is sight-impaired or needs to use a chair, crunches or a walker living with a physical disability is difficult. Your teen faces social and educational barriers that other teens won’t have to. What’s more, they may have to deal with issues of basic accessibility as merely getting around can be hard for them. Because of their inability to go to certain places or participate in certain activities, they may feel sidelined or left out.
Equal treatment and equal opportunity are not a given for people with physical disability. It’s something they have to work for. Thankfully, with my warm, empathetic approach to therapy for teens with physical disability, I can help your child shoulder the work so that they don’t have to do it alone. Living with a physical disability myself, I believe I can empathize with your teen’s struggles and help them adapt to their challenges.
Physically Challenged Teenagers Often Feel Invisible In Today’s Society
Imagine it’s a Sunday night and your teenager is excited to go to school and be with all their friends. Accommodations have been made so that they can get around the school easily. Their friends are understanding of their struggles and willing to help them out when they need it. Your teenager is thriving academically, socially and in every area of their life.
No matter how far-fetched this scenario may seem, living with a disability doesn’t have to hold your teenager back. Oftentimes, their ability to adapt and succeed simply comes down to having the right help and support. Unfortunately, our culture isn’t always as inclusive enough as it should be. Although many schools now have greater accessibility for physically challenged teenagers, there is still much work to be done. We still don’t live in a world where teens with physical disabilities feel accepted and loved for who they are.
Nowadays, teenagers are constantly inundated with media and social messages that often portray people with physical disabilities negatively or inaccurately. Many actors and actresses who play physically challenged people in films and on TV shows don’t have disabilities themselves. And in the fashion world, there are very few models with physical disabilities. Without anyone to represent their struggles, many physically challenged teenagers feel ignored and rejected—as if they’re invisible.
The teenage years are stressful and hectic enough in their own right. Living with a physical disability only compounds the stress teens deal with. By working together, I believe you and I can empower your young one to adapt to their challenges and fulfill their hopes and dreams.
Therapy Is A Chance For Teens With Physical Disabilities To Feel Accepted And Included
As someone who knows what it’s like to live with a physical disability, my first priority with your teen is providing both accessibility and acceptance. It’s essential that I can accommodate your child’s physical needs in whatever way possible. Additionally, I want to create an environment where your teenager feels included, validated and free to speak about their struggles without any reservations. In sessions they can use writing and art materials so they can use to express themselves while we talk.
During the intake process, I will generally meet with both you and your teen to discuss their needs, goals and any questions you have. It’s important that I know about your teen’s disability so that I can provide accessibility for them. For instance, do they have any form of mobility aid? Can they get around on their own? If they need any assistance during sessions, in what way can I help? The accommodations I make are not of secondary concern—they are a crucial part of the healing process itself.
Although I will meet with your teenager one-on-one after the initial session, I will give you updates from time to time and ensure you play a vital role throughout therapy. I will help you advocate on behalf of your child within the school system. For instance, if they need added accommodations for their classroom, I can help you collaborate with the school to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). I will also ensure that you know your teenager’s rights so that you understand what services they’re entitled to.
In sessions with your teen, I will help them explore the ways that having a disability impacts their relationships, school environment and sense of independence. They will learn how to manage different social scenarios which they may feel uncomfortable in. For instance, the teen years are a time when many young people are starting to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Teens with physically disabilities have to be extra careful about such behavior, of course, so I will help your child develop a game plan for handling these issues.
Additionally, some people may misinterpret your teen’s actions because of their physical disability—especially if they have slurred speech or trouble walking in a straight line. My goal is to help your teenager stay calm and communicate effectively when these situations present themselves. I also want to make sure they have friends who will stand up for them when things get uncomfortable. The teen years are a time when young people really start to develop meaningful bonds with each other and having supportive friends is crucial.
Teenagers with physical disabilities can lead full, active and joyful lives. Doing so may not be easy, but it can be done. My goal is to help them adapt to their struggles, develop a stronger support system and fulfill their hopes and dreams.
You May Have Some Concerns About Counseling For Teens With Physical Disabilities…
How Can You Relate To My Teen’s Experience?
I have lived with Cerebral Palsy my entire life. I know how hard it is to negotiate and advocate for yourself out in the world. I also know how disheartening it is to feel pitied, talked down to and left out of social activities. In the end, your teenager’s struggles are uniquely their own, but I am confident that I have faced many of the same challenges. I believe I have the experience and the compassion to truly empathize with your teenager.
Is Your Therapy Space Accessible? Can You Accommodate My Teenager?
Yes, the environment I work in is accessible for teens with physical disabilities. Providing accommodations is an essential part of the relationship between me and your teen.
Can You Help Me Advocate For My Teen Within The School System?
Working with school administrators and faculty members is often an essential part of what I do. I will help you advocate for your teen in school IEP meetings and work with their teachers to establish means of accessibility and accommodations for their disability.
Living With A Disability Doesn’t Have To Hold Your Teenager Back
If your teenager wishes they could talk to someone who understands what it’s like to have a physical disability, I encourage you to contact me. I believe I have the knowledge, experience and compassion to help them thrive. To get started, you can call 631-289-8765 for a free 20-minute phone consultation or fill out the contact form.
Right now, because of COVID-19, all my therapy services for teens with physical disabilities are online. The platform I utilize is secure, free and HIPAA-compliant. See my online counseling page for teens for more information.