If you have a disability or illness you may be coping well with it. But you can still be having a rough time for another reason. It may leave you feeling that everything is just too hard or unfair because it is extra difficult for you to deal with as well as your health.

People with disabilities and long-term illnesses or health conditions achieve amazing things and can be a real inspiration in encouraging you to reach for the sky. 

Read about some famous women who have succeeded despite illness or disability, and some real stories from girls on American site girlshealth.gov.

2012 is not just the year of the Olympics but also the Paralympics, where the most amazing skill and courage is shown by people who refused to put aside their love of sport and will to succeed, despite the physical obstacles.

Sports coach Jane Coia talks about the people she has trained for the paralympics, and disability in 2012.

If you would love to be more active in sports, find out more from Parasport which has been designed to inspire, educate, inform and signpost disabled people, and those interested in disability sport, to high quality opportunities.  They aim to help you find your personal best. 

It's not just about being encouraged to take part in sports and greater achievements. If you're finding it hard to cope with being disabled or ill, even temporarily, your mental health can easily suffer. It's about being as well as you can and looking after yourself mentally and physically.

Coping with the challenges of everyday life

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) want

  • Everyone to have a better understanding of disability
  • Disabled young people to take control of their own lives and decisions
  • People to ask us what we CAN do
  • To be treated as individuals.

Isn't that what you want too?

In this film from Scope, Katherine talks about life with cerebral palsy and explains, "Just because I do thing differently, doesn't mean I'm any less normal."

In this video from Youth Health Talk, young people talk about their concerns about going to university with a health condition or disability.          

They also talk about their experiences of living with a long-term health condition.These concerns are real.

Kidshealth has a whole section on every aspect of coping with chronic health conditions.

Maybe you just need to talk or get it off your chest. ChildLine can listen and also offer you ways to express your feelings or frustrations like tying them to a balloon and the wall of expression.

Perhaps you need help with simple things like washing and dressing, reading and writing, or moving around, or special equipment to make life easier. Social Care Services may be able to provide some help or information on where to get it. DIAL groups are a network of local information and advice line services. Find out where your nearest is and how they can help you and your family or carers.

Action for Kids may be able to help with mobility equipment. Family Fund give grants to families raising disabled or seriously ill children under 17 for essentials, specialist things and even a break for the family. Details of grants and how to apply are available on one website Disability Grants.  

Maybe you want to make the most of your leisure time. Leisure is about choice. However, you can only choose if you know what is available. Contact Scope Response for where to go for ideas on accessible leisure activities in your area. Scope also give information and advice on disability and sports facilities with useful links to more organisations specialising in this.

Do you feel embarrassed or are you bullied by people who make a joke of your disability? Tell someone, a parent or carer, a teacher or ChildLine.  Be proud of who you are and improve your self esteem. Resist the unkindness or rudeness and learn how to defeat bullies.

A specific illness or condition brings its own share of rough times.

If you are a teenager diagnosed with cancer, NHS choices has a checklist to help you understand the choices you have for treatment.

in painIf you have a specific condition or disability there will almost certainly be a support group for people like you and your families. They will be able to share information on the condition and what help is available. They may have a local group where you and perhaps your families or carers too can meet and support each other by sharing their experiences. Scope have a section for young disabled people, and the Trendsetters project is being created by ScopeResponse and a group of young people with disabilities.

Contact a Family (cafamily) have brilliant information for the families and carers of disabled children and young people, including a network of local families who support each other.

SIBS offers support for young people with disabled brothers and sisters and also for young people caring for a disabled sibling.

If you or your carers need a break this may be possible through Social Care Services or charitable organisations who help arrange and even pay for some breathing space for you. Scope give you a brief guide to some holiday opportunities available for disabled people.

GTRT has special pages about choices for your future and the problems you may have with education and work. If you are disabled or have a long-term illness or condition, you may need specialist advice and even more careful planning as you grow from a teenager to a young adult. 

 If you are planning to leave home or live away, get general advice but your specific needs might make it harder. Action for Kids also offers work-related learning and help for planning your future including independent living. Please bear in mind that the government are constantly changing what help you can get and even their own website with information which is now found on Gov.uk has recently changed (2013) taking with it some of the information we were using here. It is important to check with the benefits agencies and not just rely on information from sites like ours.  

The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) aims to make a difference to the lives of disabled children and children with special educational needs.  They do this by influencing Government policy, working with local agencies to translate policy into practice and producing guidance on issues affecting the lives of disabled children.

Their Young Ambassadors group made this award winning video "Young, Disabled and in control!", designed to challenge stereotypes of disability and show the positive difference when young disabled people are involved in decisions about their lives.

Being unwell in your body can affect your mental health. If your body is suffering even temporarily it may make you much more prone to anxiety or depression. If you have a permanent illness or disability you may very well feel down or anxious. You need to get as much help and support for your state of mind in order to be strong enough to deal with your physical difficulties. Feel better and get fit  to give yourself a head start physically. Don't suffer in silence if your mental health is suffering, too.

The page was last updated on 07 June 2016 by andrea.bateman.

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