The Differently-abled Ones Are In Our Society

  • The differently-abled people in our society are represented by 15% of the world population.
  • The differently-abled people don't even want to be called disabled, because they are the same fully functioning members of our society.
  • In the end, if we want the differently-abled people to enjoy a full life in equal rights and conditions, the greatest implication has to come from us and the institutions.

On December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated. The reason to indicate this day in the calendar is to raise awareness among the population about the specific needs of people with disabilities and to guarantee among all the active participation in society of these people who represent 15% of the world population. Because fighting for the rights and integration of people with disabilities is everyone’s business.

The main value for a person is health. Unfortunately, this value is not given to everyone. Today there are millions of unfortunate people in the world. Of course, the reasons may be different. Disability is not a sentence, and people try to overcome difficulties and live a full life. There are people who are hopeful towards their lives even after their disability. Such people don’t even want to be called disabled, because they are the same fully functioning members of our society, leading active lives. Therefore, they have the opportunity to move freely.

Types of disability

There are different types of disabilities, but the objective to be met is the same for any disability: eliminating barriers that prevent access to society. We are not only talking about eliminating the architectural barriers that affect people with physical disabilities and mobility problems, but also, all those barriers that prevent them, for example, communication to people with sensory disabilities, those that make it difficult access to the labor market for people with cognitive disabilities or those that restrict the social participation of people with mental disabilities.

Just as there are different forms of disability, the cause for that disability is also different. It can be due to a hereditary or genetic factor, degenerative diseases or even accidents. But you have to keep in mind that depending on the type of disability, the person’s needs vary. We cannot help a person with hearing impairments in the same way as a person suffering from paraplegia.

Challenges that Children with Disabilities Face

Social problems

A child with health problems comes to a mass school not only for getting an education but also trying to find himself among the surrounding society, learn how to communicate with his peers, find a passion, learn how to get out of various conflict situations. But often faced with such problems:

The negative attitude of parents to the fact that a disabled child is studying in a class with their healthy child.

Many parents are against such communication. Perhaps they want the world in the representation of their child to always be “perfect.” This position is not just wrong; it is destructive in the first place for their own child. He is under the influence of parents incorrectly formed psyche. If you instill a utopian and illusory understanding of the world, then the child in the future will face great challenges.

The attitude of children to the “special” classmate

A disabled child with no mental retardation can easily master the school curriculum. To the fore, he has the problem of communicating with classmates. The psychology of children is different from the psychology of adults. It is not uncommon for unbearable conditions for such a child at school to be abused: they denigrate him, humiliate him.

Rarely, but a miracle happens. If the position of parents and teachers on the issue of correct attitude to a disabled child coincides, classmates, behave as advocates and patrons of it, become tolerant and benevolent. The principle of “different but equal” is being successfully implemented. Joint training is useful not only for the child with disabilities but also for healthy children, adults. Feeling support from adults and peers, a student with disabilities successfully masters the school curriculum; his self-esteem rises, he steadily and calmly overcomes all difficulties.

The quality of the future life of a disabled person does not depend on the level of knowledge gained, but on how socially adapted and competent he is, how well he can manage life circumstances. He can learn everything only in a society of ordinary healthy peers.

Problems in the organization of education

The modern school is able to help the “special” student to reach the level that will further enable him to easily adapt to life, continuing education, find a vocation in life. When organizing training for a disabled child, the following problems come out on top:

The unwillingness of teachers to teach a child with health problems on a par with ordinary children

Many teachers will have to undergo retraining if an inclusive education program is widely introduced into schools. Not many teachers are ready to simultaneously teach two categories of children. After all, this is not only additional preparation for the lesson, writing an additional lesson plan and development of visual aids, but also the ability to correctly and effectively convey to him the educational material.

The problem of a lack of qualified personnel

Often the school administration is not able to fully organize the comfortable finding of a disabled person at school. The work of the class teacher and subject teachers is not enough. To create a favorable microclimate between children, to quickly resolve conflict situations, we also need a psychologist, a social pedagogue or a deaf-and-dumb pedagogue. In many schools, especially in remote and small ones, there are no such vacancies in the state.

The problem of the final certification of students

This problem is faced by graduates with disabilities. In recent years, special conditions for passing their final certification were canceled. They are forbidden to take exams in the walls of their own school, in the presence of their teachers and classmates. But what will happen to the “special” student (especially if he has psycho-emotional problems), if he sharply changes his familiar conditions during the exam? A nervous breakdown can occur in ordinary students, and for a disabled person, an examination outside the school is a shock.

Help a person with a disability

It is true that there are more and more regulations aimed at the integration of people with disabilities, but it is also true that in most cases this regulation is not fulfilled. Thus, it is common to see people with physical disabilities who cannot access certain places in our cities. Other times, blind people are those who have problems doing any daily activity, and many people wonder how they can help in a personal capacity.

The fundamental advice if you want to help a person with disabilities on time is to try to put yourself in their place to know what they need. We cannot widen the sidewalks, but we can help a person in a wheelchair to overcome some obstacles. Nor can we do anything if the traffic light does not have sound signals, but we can offer our arm for a blind person to cross the street. Physical contact is very important for people with a sensory disability. Supporting a hand on the shoulder is the best way to get the attention of a person with vision or hearing problems and remember that people with mental disabilities should not be spoken to as children, but with affection and with simple language.

The Concept of Short-Term Missions – STM and how Developing Our World can help disabled people.

Just like the other issues, Developing Our World is focused on the elimination of the problems. Since the issues related to disability cannot be eliminated, Developing Our World is mainly focused on sending its STMs to help the people with disabilities in all walks of lives.

What is a Short-Term Mission?

As Developing Our World seeks to put holistic community development into practice, our STM goes out in the field to help the people affected by a certain cause. Our STMs have been providing their services to the immigrants, uneducated children, hospitals in the rural areas, and small schools in isolated cities, like La Unión, Zacapa, Guatemala. Developing Our World has recently launched its short-term mission to help people with disability in all walks of life. Mainly, it is providing its services to children in schools and people at special centers.

Our short-term mission includes the main mission of providing individual attention to students with disabilities. Other missions include:

  • Development of an individual training program. Its creation is often difficult due to a large number of options for the manifestation of health problems. If the school has several “special” students, then a program is developed for each of them individually.
  • Equipment with the additional demonstration, visual aids to help the child learn the general education program.

It is for these reasons that many directors are trying to protect their school from such a student, persuading parents to transfer him to home-based or specialized training. Here, at Developing Our World, we are trying to make sure that these students stay at the same school as much as possible and get the best education that they deserve.

Moreover, to help people with disabilities in other areas, our short-term teams are focused on the following tasks in schools and most of the public areas:

  • Ramps for wheelchair users are installed, lifts to the upper floors are mounted.
  • Steps are painted in a bright color for visually impaired people.
  • The walls in the corridors and public spaces are equipped with holders (handrails), and the floor should have a relief coating.
  • Mounted warning lights for hearing impaired people.
  • Performs the refurbishment of the dining room, dressing room, toilet, gym, the library at schools.
  • Equips classrooms with headphones and acoustic devices.

If you are willing to contribute, you may become a helping hand. Contact us now and become a part of our Short-term teams in this noble cause.

In the end, these are just some tricks that help us coexist with people with disabilities, but while individual behavior is important, we must bear in mind that if we want these people with disabilities to enjoy a full life in equal rights and conditions, the greatest implication has to come from us and the institutions.

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Miguel Torneire

Is the founder and the Executive Director of Developing Our World, an organization that seeks to put holistic community development into action. He loves Jesus! And, he is a husband, a father, a Lutheran Pastor, a Missionary, an Author, a flamenguista (a supporter of Clube de Regatas do Flamengo soccer team), and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.

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