Finding a support community can not only allow people with disabilities to find resources, information, and services to help make day to day living easier, but creating a lifelong network of friends and community support can also contribute to a fulfilled life. Check out a few different ways for how people with disabilities to find a support community of their own below:
Join an online community. Most disability foundations have information and links online for resources and people you can easily connect with via websites, chat rooms, and social media platforms. Search websites like Facebook to see if there are groups concerning disability topics you are interested in joining. Can’t find a group that fits what you are looking for? Create one! Creating groups on most social media sites are simple – start by inviting one of your “friends” and ask them to invite others who may be interested in what you designed the group for. Before you know it, you will have created your own online community and a way to find resources and share information with people all over the world facing some of the same issues you are.
Look in Unexpected Places
Perhaps the most important benefit that comes from finding a disability community is the ability to ask questions, find answers, and share your own information to help others. Expand your search for community outside of the social media realm. Consider looking in unexpected places. Check your local newspaper to see if there are events coming up in your community where you would have the opportunity to meet other people. Stay after church or look for other parents at your child’s school to strike up a conversation with. You never know what connections you will make which may lead to other individual facing some of the same disability issues or activities that you are interested in. Networking is the best way to start building your support community with both able-bodied and disabled people alike.
Seek out Opportunities to get Involved
Do an online search, page through the phonebook, ask your colleagues at work or acquaintances if there are organizations in your community looking for volunteers. Even if they have connections to non-disability related organizations, starting by volunteering with a community center or nonprofit organization can open up connections to other organizations that you may not have otherwise had. Ask around to see if there is an organization looking for people with disabilities to volunteer or lend their perspective to. It only takes 1 event or opportunity for you to meet other people with disabilities and start building your circle.
Once you begin building your community circle and finding your support system, consider organizing recurring events and activities so you can get together frequently and stay connected. Do you have any other tips for how people with disabilities can build a good support community? Share in the comments!