Social Risks of People with Disabilities

People with mental and physical disabilities face severe formal and informal discrimination. At the moment, institutions (public and private) can subjugate the issue of legal discrimination and allow people with disabilities to get work, education, and wages. Many activities and hobby classes are officially available to disabled people. An issue with informal discrimination affects direct communication with people, possible bullying, and difficulty in building (including marriage and romantic) relationships.

The formal problem of discrimination has been resolved in large cities with large budgets. Even urban planning and urban space consider the characteristics of people with limited mobility and the elderly. There is still a risk of an unfriendly urban environment in small and developing cities. In such an environment, people with disabilities are at a high risk of facing hate crimes (Macionis, 2011, p. 151). In such situations, others usually do not know how to help them.

Sometimes people with disabilities strive, ashamed of themselves, to hide on the Internet and look for their hobbies: movies, videos, dating sites; it is especially true for tiny towns. Seale and Chadwick’s (2017) research shows, that certain websites that people with disabilities frequent need ongoing support to answer questions from people with mental or intellectual disabilities. Such communication will not be purely technical, and support targeted at people with disabilities will often need psychological help, as they are primarily looking for companionship and friends. However, just like in real life, people with disabilities run the risk of being bullied on the Internet, which can provoke panic and a sense of hopelessness. They can think that they cannot be on a par with other people even in the virtual space.

People with disabilities face informal and formal risks, which are difficult to manage. State institutions can regulate urban planning under the needs of people with limited mobility, but in small cities with undeveloped infrastructure, the situation is deplorable. In cities, people with disabilities are often victims of hate and disgusting crime; criminals understand that disabled people cannot fight back. With the current development of information technology, young people with disabilities (including mental disabilities) spend a lot of time on social networks and various websites. Unfortunately, as in real-life communication, there is still a danger of bullying. Investigators recommend that some websites have a dedicated support group to communicate with such sites to protect people with disabilities from the risks in the virtual space.


Macionis, J. J. (2011). Social Problems: Census Edition (4th ed.). Pearson College Div.

Seale, J., & Chadwick, D. (2017). How does risk mediate the ability of adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live a normal life by using the Internet? Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 11(1). Web.

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