The Living Well with a Disability Program

Living Well with a Disability is a ten week peer-facilitated health promotion workshop for people with disabilities.  Participants in the program learn the life skills they need to set and achieve quality-of-life goals and the important role health plays in helping them reach their dreams.

People who participate in  the Living Well with a Disability workshop report:

  • Improved outlook
  • Positive changes in daily activities
  • Achieving a goal such as getting a job, going back to school, or leading a more active social life
  • Reduced limitation due to secondary health conditions
  • Reduced health care costs
  • Increased awareness of disability rights/advocacy

The Living Well with a Disability workshop follows a workbook with 10 chapters and an introductory orientation session:

Orientation:

The orientation chapter introduces Living Well with a Disability’s philosophy and components and explains how healthy lifestyle habits contribute to qualify of life and satisfaction.   The orientation chapter may be used as a recruitment tool and can help potential participants determine if they are ready for change.

Chapter One: Goal Setting

The Goal Setting chapter explains how working toward quality-of-life goals is meaningful and motivating.  It provides guidelines for participants to identify what is important in their lives and to develop achievable goals in support of larger, life changes.

Chapter Two: Solving Problems

This chapter focuses on problem-solving skills.  It provides information on how to re-frame thoughts when  problems are encountered and helps participants develop strategies so that problems don’t get in the way of achieving their goals.

Chapter Three: Healthy Reactions

This chapter focuses on building the skills that help facilitate a positive outlook when participants encounter problems.  Participants learn to react to frustration by changing negative thoughts, feelings, and actions into more positive responses.

Chapter Four: Beating the Blues

Although participants learn to work on healthy reactions, no one can eliminate all feelings of frustration. Because of this, it’s important to guard against becoming discouraged. This chapter focuses on strategies to feel encouraged and hopeful and provides resources for individuals who may be experiencing depression.

Chapter Five: Healthy Communication

Individuals who exchange clear messages with service providers and others in their communities are more likely to get their needs met. This chapter focuses on the elements of clear communication and helps participants build the communication skills they need to achieve their goals.

Chapter Six: Seeking Information

This chapter focuses on finding health-related resources to solve health problems that interfere with achieving quality-of-life goals. Participants learn how and where to find information and what to do with it once they have it.

Chapter Seven: Physical Activity

This chapter shows participants how to evaluate their current physical activity levels and develop plans to increase physical activity in support of improved health that will help them achieve their goals.

Chapter Eight: Eating Well to Live Well

People who eat well have enough energy to participate in activities and reach their goals.  This chapter covers healthy food choices, portions, and how even small dietary changes positively affect health and prevent and reduce secondary health problems.

Chapter Nine: Advocacy

Self-advocacy and systems-advocacy require well developed skills in goal-setting, problem-solving, communication and information-seeking.  This chapter pulls together the previous workshop sessions and helps participants use what they’ve learned to advocate for themselves and their communities.

Chapter Ten: Maintenance

Even an individual who is meeting his or her goals may slip back into old unhealthy behaviors. This chapter focuses on strategies that will help maintain the behavior changes a participant developed during the workshop as well as emphasizing the importance of staying connected with peers who support them in achieving their goals.