Careers Helping People with Disabilities
One-quarter of adults in the U.S. live with a disability. Read about the 8 major types of disability and how you can make a difference with a career in disability care.
Last Updated: 08/14/2020
Meet the Expert
Ben Barrett is a social worker who supports adults with mental illness. Ben has a dual bachelor degree in psychology and Spanish language and literature from North Carolina State University and a Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University. He gives back by contributing to his website The How to Social Worker (www.thehowtosocialworker.com).
An estimated 12.6% of the U.S. population lives with a disability, and one in every four adults. Most challenges are physical (~14%) or cognitive (11%) in nature, although millions of Americans also have difficulty with vision, hearing, and overall self-care. While volunteers and family members play important roles in disability care, more and more people are making it a career. From special education teachers and home health aides to occupational and physical therapists, learn how you can help people with disabilities enjoy higher functioning and lower risk lives.
The 8 Main Types of Disabilities (and Careers that Help)
Disabilities come in all shapes and severities, from minor vision or hearing loss to major spinal cord injury. And some disabilities may not be noticeable, even by the person who has it. To help better understand and organize disability research and overall care, the World Health Organization created 8 distinct categories, each with a unique set of disabilities within. We’ve detailed them below, and included information on some of the most popular careers that make a difference.
Exploring Careers in Disability Services
What deciding on whether to enter a career in disability services, it’s easy focus on providing direct assistance. While helping those with disabilities certainly can involve directly helping them to lead fulfilling and independent lives, there are many careers that provide indirect assistance, such as helping someone find gainful employment, learn new skills, or obtain an education. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular options with a big impact.
Interview: Working in Disability Services
Ben Barrett is a social worker who supports adults with mental illness. Ben has a dual bachelor degree in psychology and Spanish language and literature from North Carolina State University and a Master of Social Work from Western Michigan University. He gives back by contributing to his web site The How to Social Worker (www.thehowtosocialworker.com).