6 ways in which social workers can help fight the challenges faced by those with disabilities

1.Receiving all forms of necessary healthcare

As part of the stigma involved with having a disability, overall healthcare may sometimes be overlooked. For example, women with disabilities are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer and take breast exams. A social worker would make sure that total healthcare is taken into account. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

2.Being able to speak on behalf of someone who is disabled

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for those with a mental disability to advocate for themselves. In part, this is due to the stigma of them not knowing what they want, or other people thinking they know whats best. A social worker can act on behalf of someone who is disabled, as an advocate. For example, if someone with a disability wants to work, a social worker may provide support and assistance in this endeavor in a way that other people may not. (Class Lecture, 4/14/2016)

3.Preparedness to work with the disabled


Currently, social workers are aiding in the attempts that are being made to unify the concepts of mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and general disabilities. By doing so, this would help make services, as well as disability education, more efficient. Additionally, healthcare and human service professionals can be better prepared to work in the field. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4.Employment for the disabled

Social workers can definitely help the disabled find employment, and help ensure that discrimination does not occur based off of their disability. Employment is a focus of the Americans with Disabilities Act, although unfortunately the goal of employment for the disabled is still yet to be fully achieved. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

5.Helping to find or raise funding

Programs for people with disabilities may sometimes be in competition with one another for funding. As a result, one program may not receive as much funding as needed, which negatively effects the disabled clients. A social worker on the macro level may try to create legislation to make sure that programs for the disabled do receive the necessary funding. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)


6.Increasing disability education

It has been found that only 22% of BSW and MSW programs offer developmental disability programs. Therefore, education in regards to disabilities is not nearly as high as it needs to be. Social workers working in the field may recognize the lack of education, and help ensure an increase in educational programs. The Council on Social Work Education has increased its focus on disability education in recent years. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)


by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Kramer, Charlie. Class Lecture, 4/14/2016.




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