Join two minorities as they discuss the unseen mental health implications in everyday situations: Danielle Ryer, an autistic Clinical Master of Social Work (MSW) student, and Tiffany Bridgett, a Deaf Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.) student.
Danielle, the author of DrComedian.com, is a Master of Social Work student at Rutgers University, entering Clinical Advanced Year in Fall 2020. She is an autistic self-advocate, motivational coach, individual autistic children and family support coach, writer, editor, and volunteer Crisis Counselor at Crisis Text Line. Her life’s mission is to instill hope, and encourage humor in society at large, encourage individuality and the need to discuss underexamined social issues.
Tiffany Bridgett identifies herself as d/Deaf and a fluent ASL speaker. She is an advanced student enrolled in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at Gallaudet University. She graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (2014) with magna cum laude in Psychology and Pre-Med with a minor in Criminal Justice. She has been trained at University of Michigan- Psychology Department, University of Rochester- Deaf Wellness Center, Gallaudet University- Counseling and Psychological Services, D.C. Courts- the Child Guidance Court, San Diego Community Services- Behavioral Health Department, Multicultural Clinical Center in Virginia, and Psychiatric Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. She is currently working on identifying how to best administer assessment measures in standardized ASL and how to best measure language-based reasoning in deaf children who speak ASL and doing her current clinical residency with Veterans Affairs. Her life’s mission is to eradicate the stigma of mental illness and to make services more accessible, effective, and culturally competent for those who have experienced trauma.
We know that everyone has both challenges and strengths. When dealing with disabilities, we tend to look at things fatalistically. Why is this? I argue that it’s partially due to the way we’re conditioned to view disability – when someone has unusual challenges because they don’t meet expectations, we have this idea that (a) they never will, in spite of intervention or accommodation; or (b) there is no place for them and (c) because there is something irrevocably wrong (instead of different) (d) and when there is something wrong, that it cannot be adjusted.
These are myths.
Sometimes we’re truly inhibited by some aspects of our condition in some areas of life. But should we make a fish climb a tree? Or should we put the fish in rushing water, and see it at its best? And if that fish has trouble swimming, shouldn’t we figure out why? Shouldn’t we try to help? The right kind of support can make all the difference.
Self-disclosure, I never did well in math. I might never become a mathematician. Good thing is, I never let that upset me, because I would pay good money to make sure I never become one. I’ve taken steps towards becoming what I’m good at.
We adapt where we need to in order to achieve what we can and want to in life.