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Transcripts of some of the discussions on CYC-Net's email discussion group

Physical disabilities?



How would having a physical disability impact work as a Child and Youth Care Worker?

I am currently attending Eastern College and working on a paper about CYC issues and how it affects the profession. I am looking for some insight from professionals in the field about this particular issue.

Nikiata Parsons

Hi Nikiata,

I guess that would depend greatly on the nature of the "dis-ability".

Perhaps you should be a little more specific about what kinds of dis-ability you are referring to. Depending on the person, the nature of the dis-ability and the context of work, it could have a great impact, or no impact at all. Some people might see it as an obstacle to doing their work, while others might see it as an opportunity to utilise. If you are working in a context where children have dis-abilities of their own, I imagine it might provide very unique opportunities for learning and sharing.

Regarding the nature of the dis-ability, I can just say that physical dis-abilities might be nothing compared to mental dis-abilities. For example, in the field of child and youth care work, a negative attitude is one of the greatest dis-abilities you can have.

Just some random thoughts....

South Africa

Great question, Nikiata! Having a physical disability might, if related to mobility, impact participation in activities and, perhaps, bring up related safety concerns in some settings. Every good worker, however, brings something important in their contribution to young people and families. We probably have not done enough to remove barriers for inclusion of workers with disabilities across our field. Part of my CYC career was directing camps for families affected by disability. We had a number of volunteers and workers who were living with their own physical challenges. Sometimes this created difficulties, but more often opened up points of emotional connection, shared empathy, or mutual connection. One quality worker I know has no arms (he lost them in a fire as a child) and can catch a football (with his shoulder and stub of an arm) better than I can dream about! So, be sure in your paper to highlight the strengths that people affected by disability bring to the work of caring and challenge us to be more inclusive!

James Freeman
Southern California USA



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