In 1987, President Ronald Reagan established March as National Disability Awareness Month, “To acknowledge and increase public awareness of the needs and the potential of Americans who face developmental disabilities and to provide the opportunities they need in order to live productive lives and achieve their full potential.”
Disabilities frequently exist beyond things we can see. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, disabilities manifest in the physical, learning, language, and behavior, and include those on the Autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, ADD/ADHD, intellectual or learning disabilities, hearing and vision loss, and more.
To honor this month, we are pleased to share with you a blog about living with disability from our marketing intern Jacob Ross.
My name is Jacob and I have a disability called hydrocephalus. It’s a condition that results in excess fluid building up and putting pressure on my brain.
My experience of having this disability is that it affects me in a number of ways. For example, sometimes I get headaches, especially if I don’t stay hydrated.
I also manage a significant anxiety disorder. The way this affects me is that I get anxious, and that causes me to start having negative thoughts. And I don’t like it!
There are also a lot of ways that my disability does NOT affect me, because I don’t let it define who I am. For example, I work! I have had a job working for the 14th Street Y for a number of years and I also just recently started working at the Sirovich Center.
I also stay really busy. I do yoga and play basketball. I take music lessons and do theater. I also have a lot of friends. Together, we go on adventures and have a great time!
This year, for Disability Awareness Month, I’m happy to be talking about my disability and to draw attention to it so that people can learn more about it. I want people to know that it is a part of who I am. But equally important is the fact that it isn’t all that I am and it doesn’t hold me back.