There are various reasons for not taking advantage of campus disability services, such as…
- Fear of stigma
- Wanting to maintain a sense of “normalcy” by not self-disclosing
- Perceived quality and usefulness of services
- Negative experiences
- Insufficient knowledge
- Identity issues, such as a desire for self-sufficiency
- Being taught to “tough it out”
- Saying they don’t have enough time
- Difficulty with follow-through
- Different cultural norms regarding help-seeking
Some of these traits may also be associated with individuals’ disabilities.
Here’s an activity to discuss these barriers to help-seeking…
- Before participants arrive, write each of the traits above on individual pieces of paper and put them in a hat or bowl.
- Then, when people arrive, discuss how you’re going to try putting yourselves in the shoes of people with disabilities to better understand their motivations, fears and more.
- Split participants into groups of 2-4 people each.
- Have each group choose a piece of paper.
- Explain that they’ll explore their chosen trait for the next 20 minutes, listing related issues, resources, fears, ways to encourage help-seeking and more.
- Have a spokesperson for each group share their findings with the larger group.
- Encourage each group to take one idea and flesh it out into an actionable initiative.
- These can be shared with the appropriate resources on campus as possible solutions to help encourage more help-seeking behaviors.
You can find activities, case studies, handouts, self-work and more like this associated with Ability and Accessibility, in addition to nine other diversity-related topics, in our 10 More Campus Diversity Training Workshops resource.