Humans are social creatures who are constantly defined by social contexts like friendships, loved ones, as well as, connections with school and work. Sequentially, each person is constantly searching for social cues to define one’s value even if the search deems as unhealthy and bad for themselves. As research studies illustrate, human beings associate and maintain relationships with each other based on their common interests and preferences. As human beings, we also have a tendency to leave out those that are dissimilar to us whether physically, emotionally or socially. Specifically, people with disabilities have long experienced this seclusion based on their inability to live normal lives.

Disability refers to the state whereby an individual is unable to perform their daily duties resulting from physical or mental weakness. Disabilities can, therefore, be caused by two main things including birth and illnesses that later develop to disability in the future. Research studies illustrate that people with disabilities have experienced both positive and negative relationships with normal people. These studies also call for the need to reexamine the different relationships that people have with the disabled so as to ensure that they live a positive life. This, will, in turn, assure the disabled are not left out of the normal day to day activities that they should be experiencing.

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This paper examines the various positive and negative relationships that people with disabilities experience during their lifetime. Specifically, the paper looks at family relationships, relationships with friends, relationships with teachers, as well as, working relationships.



Disability and Relationships

As previously mentioned, most disabilities come about from birth or as a result of health problems. Presumable minor health problems may develop and lead to disabilities, which, in turn, results in a threat to performance and even the identity of self. This comes as a result of the fact that most individuals will need both emotional and financial support from others.

As research studies explain, most disabled people come close, to losing everything they toiled for in the bid of receiving personal benefits that are prerequisite to them. Everything, in this case, means not just personal belongings, but also loved ones, as well as, their jobs. The disabled lose their loved ones because these people are pushed to the limits by taking care of the ones who are disabled, thus they feel strained during the process. The disabled lose their dignity, pride, and faith in the government. (Steven E. Gutstein & Rachelle K. Sheely) (Feb 2002).

Positive Relationships

The benefit which is most frequently told by researchers is the appreciation of the support received from loved ones, fewer social constraints lower psychological distress that is all interpersonal benefits of the Illness experience; in regard to methodological implications for interventions. When one considers such disabilities like Rheumatoid Arthritis, or those with AIDS (HIV) especially at a young age is a tragedy more so when the individual with the Illness loses all hope this is not only tragic to the disabled but also for the family of the disabled in all aspects.   For example, in the case of Rheumatoid arthritis, most patients have found themselves forced to disability when the necessary treatment is not attained. This disease is not only chronic, but it is also widespread meaning that it affects a lot of people in the long run. Accordingly, this disease causes multiple organ failure, which in turn leads to disability to those it affects. For that reason, a better comprehension of how the disease works has allowed medical practitioners to develop the treatment for patients suffering from this. For that reason, the relationship between a disabled individual and his doctors is one whereby the goal is to achieve proper health for the patients. Doctors, therefore, work towards the achievement of the desired treatments for patients so as to help them live better lives.

A growing body of research suggests that positive psychological responses to Illness, such as finding benefits in the experience, are associated with enhanced emotional, health-related, and immunologic outcomes (Kiecolt-Glaser et al) (2002). When looking at the benefits of a serious Illness, there is an enhanced sense of spirituality with more purpose and appreciation for life a sense of mastery may follow when one finds a purpose after disability looking for the good in all events can restore comfort to many lives. In addition to this, there is special training for the blind and deaf these services offer assistive technology such as speech recognition and brail keyboarding. Disabled people with Intellectual disabilities have related resources communication products such as telephones, transaction machines like ATMs for banking, or Worldwide Websites office copiers and faxes (Wehmeyer et al, 2004). The benefits with these devices increase abilities and endurance, which allows the disabled person to participate in programs and activities that otherwise, would not be available.

Negative Relationships

Negative relationship experienced by the disabled come as a result of the different negative attitudes that people have regarding the disabled in society. Negative attitudes, therefore, cause the disabled to be left out from normal experiences, thus getting the feeling that they do not belong.  Accordingly, negative attitudes toward people with handicaps may involve, psychodynamic and even childhood influences considering most people may have never encountered someone with severe disabilities. Anxiety may occur when this happens some might see disabilities as a reminder of death or even be intimidated by the disabled by fear of not knowing how to communicate without a obvious look of sympathy or feeling as if they need to show the disabled special treatment. Away from social life, the disabled also experience a degree of negative relations in their perspective or respective workplaces. Research studies explain that the disabled and handicapped are slowly being left out of employment opportunities owing to their disability. Unfortunately, some employers may consider that hiring a person with disabilities may have a negative reflection on the company. This is because they believe that such employees cannot perform their duties as required, thus forcing the company into a possible loss. Such employers may also believe that their customers may not be content with the ideas of a disabled individual attending to their needs and requirements, and for that reason, will not employ the disabled. However, not all employers shut out people with disabilities, instead, some employers believe that hiring people with disabilities to make their company look good. All this leaving the disabled to feel as a minus to society dating, marriage and social lives for those with disabilities may create some invisible negative barriers, therefore making rehabilitation even harder this leaving the disabled feeling as though they only deserve other like-minded people in their lives.

In addition to this, we see less research on dating and marriage, people with disabilities have reflections that focus on positive educational and vocational areas, leaving the dating and social domains unattended. Disability then is a form of social oppression the continual proportions of disabled people have to lead to concerns with the ability to manage an anticipated demographic time bomb. Technology will flourish and disabled people will be ready to challenge their exclusions. Online services such as art therapy, which help the disabled with their emotional, mental and physical well-being it also helps increase social skills and resolve conflicts. Employment services that offer skills training, job coaching, and computer application training, which help the disabled, reach all their goals of employment.



As observed from the information above, people with disabilities have long been forced to endure hardships owing to their disabilities. Such individuals have had their rights taken away from them, and have been forced to live lives that are not conditionally normal. In addition, the social provisions for disabled people have been criticized for reinforcing their dependency, and it seems that many are leading very lonely and isolated lives (Barnes, 1990 ). Though they may have disabilities, the disabled should not be secluded or left out from society. They should also not be looked upon as people who cannot attain maximum fulfillment in their different lives, and they should not have their rights taken away from them. Disabled individuals have the right to employment, education, and healthy social life, which can only be attained by changing the negative attitudes of people towards them. It is imperative that researchers find ways to influence attitudes both manifest and latent, modifying negative attitudes toward people with disabilities. Those working in healthcare such as registered nurses seem to have a better attitude toward disabled people compared to entry-level students. For that reason, there is a need to have an emphasis on educational disciplines for improvement of integration for people with disabilities including any suggestions for any future research. Further education for employers looking to employ people with handicaps could be beneficial for both employee and employer. Statistics even say that most employers decide within four minutes as to whether they will hire someone with a handicap (Hatfield & Gatewood, 1978).



Relationships experienced by the disabled can be both positive and negative. Positive relationships arise from people recognizing that the handicapped and disabled have a right to normal lives, hence allowing good positive relationships for the disabled. Negative relationships, on the other hand, result from having negative attitudes towards disabled people, which in turn leads to the discrimination of such individuals in the society. It is an individual’s duty and responsibility to ensure that he or she maintains a positive relationship with the disabled so as to reduce the negative consequences of this. Additionally, all organizations and institutions also need to ensure that they ensure positive relationships with the disabled members in society. Only through this can the members of a particular community be assured of a society free from discrimination of the disabled and handicapped.




Gutstein, S. & Sheely, R. (2002). Relationship Development Intervention with Children,

Adolescents and Adults: A Comprehensive Program for Social and Emotional Development in Autism, PDD and NLD. London: Jessica Kingsley Publications.

Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K., McGuire, L., Robles, T.F., & Glaser, R. (2002). Emotions, morbidity, and

mortality: New perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. Annual Review of Psychology, 53.1: 83–107.

Wehmeyer, M. L. (2004). Promoting self-determination in students with developmental

disabilities: What works for special needs learners.  London: Guilford Press.


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