Kundu Asish Kr *
Consultant Physiatrist *
Two to three percent of all adolescents suffer from some form of disability. The sheer number is so overwhelming that we cannot but spare a few moments on their cause in any discussion on adolescents. The discussion here is limited to those with locomotor disability, simply because I work in this field.

Some of the problems of adolescents with locomotor disability are obvious. Depending in the type of disability they can have:
  • restricted mobility
  • difficulty in managing ADL
  • problems of self-care like passing urine, cleaning oneself, etc
  • sexual problems
  • barriers in participating in educational, vocational, social and recreational activities

Not so obvious are psychosocial problems like low self-esteem and negative body image. They have greater anxiety, conflict and defensiveness. Their major problems arise from the inability to control the environment.

How do we prioritize the concerns for adolescents with disability?
Emphasis is on:
» Studies
» Health care
» Independence

The question arises because often these concerns come into conflict with one another.

Another difficulty that a rehabilitation professional sometimes faces is that adolescents and their parents have different ideas regarding what they want from rehabilitation! Adolescents with disability feel that they are often treated as socially inferior and vocationally undesirable.

What do adolescents with disability want in life?
They want what every other adolescent wants, ie:
  • happiness
  • meaningful occupation
  • fulfilling relationship
  • independence
  • being believed in
  • being accepted by society

Adolescents with disability are adolescents first..

Where do we go from here?
  • Take a whole person orientation to services
  • Listen to adolescents themselves
  • Eliminate barrier
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Kr A K.. Available From : Conference_abstracts/report.aspx?reportid=101
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