I want to talk about the actual practical experiences of a disabled student with mental health conditions applying for courses at college and the frustrations/challenges I encounter.
I am a young adult who is frustrated about the way the education system treats disabled students even before a student officially joins the college. Disabled students have more hurdles to go through compared with able-bodied students and the process takes a good deal longer than normal.
These experiences damage our self-esteem and self-belief and stress the people who care for us, having an impact on the young adult’s family. Not being able to fulfil my ambitions makes me tired, wears me down, makes me feel useless and worthless as I feel like I cannot contribute to society. I might be disabled but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a career and be as independent as possible.
I feel that I am being denied an education compared to my peers. For example when I’ve gone for course interviews in various subjects I always get told I am unable to do the courses because:
1. I will find it too physically active or demanding.
2. I will not be allowed/the college are not prepared to allow me adaptations to be able to do courses.
3. I will find course work or exams too hard or stressful.
4. Colleges I have been to are thrown when I talk about my mental health conditions as they do not know how to respond to this, let alone how to help me with this on a daily basis.
Going through constant rejection with no after-care support or guidance on courses we could do instead deeply impacts on our mental health. This then can turn into a vicious circle which seems to never end and you can’t see a way out. It becomes scary and frightening and this makes me feel more stuck and trapped as well as extremely fearful of my future: from not only job searching but making sure that I do not become more unwell, unable to give back to society.
We all have dreams and hopes for our future and this isn’t any different for people with disabilities, mental health conditions or long term illnesses.
This makes us feel concerned about the future because we know we can give back to society and,yes, that might not be in a highly paid job but we want to feel valued and feel more accepted by society. We are all different with different skills to bring into different industries for example, catering, health care or retail. Just because we are disabled doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to offer!
In fact we are have a lot to offer; we are determined, resilient and strong. Due to our disabilities we have to come up with new ways to be able to do something an able-bodied person may find easy so we are also great at problem solving! Sometimes our brains work in different ways so we see things differently to others. This means we may be able to notice things others may have never noticed before. Some of us are really good at remembering information and routes like buses and trains timetables or maybe information on other countries. This means that maybe someone with a disability could actually be a fantastic asset to a business!