We all live in a community. We work, play, travel and socialize with others daily. How successful we feel about each of these activities depends a great deal on our own knowledge and skills. It also depends on our ability to make choices and decide how we live our lives.
Building knowledge and skills begins with understanding the many aspects of our lives.
People often define themselves by what they do. Going to work means having an income and being able to pay for housing, transportation and recreation. Work is also a place to meet people. Having an income or increasing income often means you can have more choices in your life. Most people also enjoy work because they feel a sense of accomplishment and success.
People with disabilities often receive Social Security or health care, such as Medicaid. These can often be confusing and leave individuals feeling they have less control over their own lives. They feel that they are limited by the rules of the programs, rather than making their own choices. Learning more about Social Security or health care can increase the available choices.
Learning is a life-long adventure. Some things we learn in our daily lives that may be very practical and described as 'common sense'. Other learning is more structured. It may involve going to college or to a technical school. Everyone has a different reason for continuing their education beyond high school. Some people may need to develop skills for a career; others are expanding their horizons and making a career change. Planning where to go or how to pay for it is very important.
Where do you live? Where do you want to live? Whether you plan to rent or buy a home, you need to plan. Today, landlords often require the same information, credit rating and background checks as mortgage companies. There are sources of assistance available for people with disabilities to find affordable housing or to purchase a home.
Getting around your community is important for work, shopping, recreation and other activities. Transportation can include driving, riding the bus or train, even walking. Some communities have many choices, while others have fewer. To make a decision you must consider the options available, the cost, the weather or travel time. What's needed to get a Utah Driver's License or how is a vehicle modified for a driver who uses a wheelchair? Learn what is available to you in Utah.
One of the most important things you need to take care of in life is your money. Practical money skills are important in your day to day living, such as shopping, transportation and housing. But it's also important for 'big ticket' items such as a home or vehicle. Learn how to manage your money wisely and responsibly, and how to save. When you do so, you have financial security and greater control of your life.
Abiding by the many laws in our country, state and community is for everyone. Some laws have been implemented that are specific protections for people with disabilities. Understanding those laws and your rights and responsibilities can help you in employment, education, housing, transportation and other public activities.
For many people with disabilities, being independent means using some type of device or modification. It could be as simple as a ramp into a building or modified keyboard, or more sophisticated like a customized wheelchair or adapted software. Learn what's available in Utah and how you can access it.
Sports, hobbies and just having fun is an important part of who you are. Everyone needs time to socialize and join in recreation and leisure activities. People with disabilities may need some adaptation to traditional sports or recreation. Utah has many resources and centers for adapted recreation. Learn why many people move to Utah because of the recreation opportunities available here.
Being healthy is the same for everyone - getting and staying well so you can lead full, active lives. Overall health has a direct impact on employment, and community living. Healthy living includes understanding your insurance or health care, fitness and exercise, nutrition and healthy choices. Learn how a disability may affect these and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
For more information, be sure to see the Complete Work Ability Utah Resource List. You'll find resources for over 25 different categories of interest!