Did you know Tennessee has a statewide helpline to provide support to people with disabilities and their families? Kimmie Jones from Tennessee Disability Pathfinder joined us on a recent episode of Community Healthy Matters to explain resources available for Tennesseans with disabilities. View her segment here.
For 16 years, Tennessee Disability Pathfinder has provided assistance to individuals of all ages with all types of disabilities and regardless of language spoken. Support is provided through three major program components: information and referrals, education and training, and multicultural outreach.
Receiving calls to their helpline daily, Pathfinder supports anyone struggling with problems relating to aging, autism, physical disabilities, veterans’ services and more. A few examples of services they’ve provided in the past include ramp building, advocacy and providing health insurance information.
Pathfinder also provides education and training on subjects like disability etiquette and the “person first” principle, which simply means treating the individual as a person, not as a disability. Some of these etiquette tips include:
- Always speak directly to the person with the disability, not to his or her helper or companion.
- Use person-first language, like “person with a disability” not “disabled person.”
- Offer help, but don’t insist and don’t be offended if the person says “no, thank you.”
- Be sensitive of the personal space of the person with a disability, which includes equipment like wheelchairs.
Disabilities are challenging, and issues are even harder to navigate when cultural or linguistic barriers are involved. That’s why Pathfinder is dedicated to maintaining a diverse office with two Spanish speakers and one Arabic speaker ready to assist with any multicultural needs. They offer support groups, one-on-one help, and frequently go out into the community when transportation is an issue.
If you or a loved one needs assistance, help is just a phone call away. Call the Pathfinder Helpline at 1-800-640-4636 or visit FamilyPathfinder.org.