Disability not an obstacle to success
Every year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked on December 3
Every year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked on December 3. First proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day aims to promotean understanding of disability issues and mobilisesupport for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also aims to raise awareness of the situations of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life. The theme for this year is "Transformativesolutions for inclusive development:the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world".
World Health Organisation(WHO) recognizes disability as a global public health issue, a human rights issue and a development priority. Its time to act and find joint solution in building a more sustainable and resilient world for all and for the generation to come.With the motto of 'leave no one behind', governments, public and private sectors collaboratively find innovative solutions for and with persons with disabilities to make the world a more accessible and equitable place.
"Disability need not be an obstacle to success," Stephen Hawking wrotein the first ever disability report back in 2011. As one of the most influential scientists of modern times, the wheel chair-bound physicist is certainly proof of that. But public attitudes are far from reality. As long as one can possess the strong and healthy will, no kind of physical ability can stop them, from achieving great things provided they are courageous, determined, persevere andsilliness diligent.Let me tell you that people with disabilities are the most courageous, strongest and wonderful human beings. Let us not forget that some of the most successful people the world has ever seen were physically challenged people such as Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein etc. were disabled.
Generally, the attitude of people towards disabled is not encouraging and supportive. They are made to feel as if they are worthless, unfortunate and cannot do anything useful and substantive in life.They don't need sympathy but they need respect which they rightfully deserve as a human being. They can handle challenges and cross obstacles and handle adverse situations like we all do. They only need our emotional support and encouragement. A poor treatment, a negative and belittling comment can affect their self- esteem, confidence and slacken their performance at work place and push them into depression.
There are different types of disabilities like physical disability, intellectual disability, visual impairment, hearing impairment and mental illness. Each disability needs different approach and assistance. The most important quality the disabled person should possess is self confidence and positive attitude, and those who possess these two qualities there is no looking back for them in reaching their goal. It's the society that provides them with these tools. Family and friends support becomes backbone for them. They need financial support from the government for their rehabilitation therapies. There are many NGOs and charitable institutes that provide education and jobs for them. With the right support from family, community and the government, a disabled person can lead a successful life.
Never assume and take for granted that people with disabilities are always in need of help to lead their lives. In case you want to help them please learn about their needs and specific details as to how to help them. Use simple language while speaking to them. While dealing with those with speech disability, give them time to finish and don't be in a hurry either to complete their sentence or assist them with words interrupting their flow of speech. Some people have little complex and hesitate to express. Don't stare at them instead make them comfortable. Let your conversation be not around their disability. Give them space and privacy and try to make them as comfortable as possible.
Unfortunately, in many parts of India differently abled face many problems right from getting access to move freely in public places, transport, finding jobs to even availing governmental benefit schemes meant for their welfare. Its disheartening to think that the disabled are looked down upon in our society and they lack support at all levels.
Let the disabled go out, strive to succeed, live the life the way they want to. Let nobody tell them and stop them from doing as they can't do something because of their disability. Don't try to always hold them back reminding them of what they are.
Success is different for everyone, some people want to be in the spotlight while some are quiet achievers of amazing things always remaining in the back stage, but it doesn't make them any less successful.
(The author is closely associated with ASHRAY AKRUTI, an NGO for hearing impaired.)