In this chapter, the book’s editors, Marini and Stebnicki presents a compelling and provocative reflection on the counseling profession. They summarize salient aspects of dealing with culture and disability that reflect how services are provided in an evidence-based practice environment. Each editor offers opinions and considerations for counseling professionals in the 21st century. Together, they hypothesize an inconvenient and potentially frightening future for Americans, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status, many of whom are minorities with disabilities. The chapter explores the ramifications of social class and classism, whereby social injustice perpetuates and exacerbates classism. In particular, Marini and Stebnicki call on counselors and related helping professionals to take a more active role in advocating beyond their traditional narrowly focused job duties of working almost exclusively with the client to adapt and survive in an able-bodied world.
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The first experiences of supportive and social units come, most often, from the family. This chapter discusses the impact of disability on family by examining the reactions of family members to disability, factors that influence adjustment to disability in the family, adjustment models, parenting reaction perspectives, effective family coping, the impact of disability based on the family role of the person with a disability, and cultural influence on family adaptation to disability. It is important to assess family needs and support services so that the family does not become overwhelmed or feel isolated in their endeavors to assist their loved one and to integrate into the larger community. This involves understanding numerous differences in family reactions and functioning based on the resilience of the family, who in the family has the disability, the extent of the disability, the resources available, and cultural beliefs and practices.
The United States continues to grow in population, particularly among persons of minority. With the statistics in mind, it becomes all the more relevant for counselors to be knowledgeable and prepared to work with the growing populations in relation to their values, culture, family dynamics, and ultimately how they view and treat their disabled members. This chapter represents a synopsis of six different groups; Hispanic or Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Middle Eastern Americans, European Americans, and Native Americans. It presents a synopsis of each specific group’s culture, cultural and family perspectives on disability, socioeconomic factors, and religion. Involving the entire family and not just the client can assist counselors to establish a relationship of trust that can be meaningful for the counselor-client relationship. Cultural competence has been known to be an important component in receiving school psychological services for Arab American youth and their families.