The ease of our own lives prevents us from seeing life through the eyes of others. Have you ever Imagined yourself in a wheelchair trying to negotiate a steep curb, trying to enter a building or some form of transportation? The thought itself leaves you threatened. Do you know there are some physically challenged people who face these kinds of problems every day in their daily routine? Their lives are completely affected by their disability. Their normal day is probably so much different from ours.
Disability can be the result of a traumatic accident, a stroke, a neurodegenerative disease, a genetic condition present since birth, a debilitating medical condition that has developed, or some other cause. Disability is part of human diversity, yet divyang’s are often overlooked.
Ishu – An Empowered Divyang!
The inclusion of disabled begins at home. As a family, we need to provide the type of support that can help a divyang to live full and productive lives. Let’s have a sneak peek into life of an inclusive family of Renukoot who inspires and motivate us every day. Mr. Shailendra Pandey and Mrs. Madhu Pandey turned Angels for a three-year-old boy Ishu who is suffering from “Cerebral palsy and Cortical Visual Impairment”. Ishu was born to Mr. Pandey’s younger brother ‘Raghvendra’ who is now settled at Ahmedabad. It was quite difficult time for the entire family because caring for a disabled child made their daily parenting duties, such as feeding, toilet training and getting him to sleep, more challenging.
Three years after Ishu’s birth his mom ‘Renu’ was expecting once again and that was a very hard time for her mentally because she was afraid that her second child could also be divyang by birth. Well, this was the time when Mrs. and Mr. Pandey decided to bring him at Renukoot and take his responsibility along with their two children ‘Anumeha and Anubhav’. “Ishu was three years old when he joined our family and it’s been ten years now, but you won’t believe my children grew up at once as soon as Ishu joined our family says, Madhu”.
“An intellectual disability acquired in childhood is in most cases a lifelong condition. Therefore, gains made through childhood interventions and early supports need to be followed through to adolescence and adulthood quotes, Mr. Pandey”. He worked on Ishu’s talents and strengths and sought out ways to let him shine. He taught him from an early age that he had “power” to advocate his own cause. He even visited some of the institutions also which take care of people with disabilities but they denied to admit Ishu because he was far normal than other disabled kids.
Ishu’s grandfather Mr. D.N. Pandey feels proud in saying that “he is able to manage his daily routine most of the time by himself”. Though he is partially paralyzed from the left side he comes for a walk almost every day accompanied by his “nonbiological” mother or father or sister or brother. He is fond of sound for we see him standing around the generator of building department and trying to listen to the vibrations. “Bhai is capable of playing the music of his own choice on the desktop says, Shalabh (younger brother) with a smile on his face”. Madhu never gets tired from looking after her family, the only thing that bothers her is well being of Ishu because he needs to be looked after like a 4-year-old boy.
The way whole family comes together for Ishu is really appreciating. Instead of showing pity every now and then, they empowered Ishu so that he can take greater control of his life. What a wonderful thing for a divyang to face life with the philosophy that “I can do it.”
Disability is not inability
Disability today could be a springboard to your success tomorrow. It simply requires a passion for a person with a disability to level the fame. History has witnessed some very great men and women with an apparent physical disability. Being physically or mentally disabled does not exclude people from contributing to the world. Some of the successful personalities rose above to claim their fame like Stephen Hawking – ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), Helen Keller (Blind and Deaf), John Nash (Schizophrenia), Christy Brown (Cerebral Palsy), Sudha Chandran (Amputation), etc., etc. People who have disabilities must be treated with respect, dignity, and concern. We must help them to reach their highest potential by encouraging them to pursue their passion. They must be enabled to have opportunities in life, to be successful and to be happy.
Nobody should be ostracized for something they have no control over. People with disabilities want to live full and productive lives. They want to catalyze self-efficacy to be able to live with dignity. The best help will be to engender the confidence for mastering everyday tasks.
India lives in the optimism of our hearts. We need to adopt an inclusive approach for disables to create a fair and cohesive society. There are changes in our society with respect to the management and treatment of people with disabilities. Inclusive India aims to promote awareness and action around disability inclusion.
Schools and colleges along with their infrastructure must be made inclusive for the children and adults with intellectual abilities. We must try to identify needs of adolescents and young adults with an intellectual disability as they transition from special education to adult services. An effort of a corresponding magnitude must be made to plan for ensuring continuity of supports and services as these children age into adulthood.
We have Employment Services Program Workshops and Volunteer placement sites serving individuals with special needs but lack of advertisements on programs that work often impedes understanding and action on disability inclusion.
Society has a tendency of pity and inaccurate concerns over the difficulty of a disabled person. Disabled people experience ridicule, shame, disgrace, isolation, rejection and even disparagement which are very disempowering for them. The Government has envisaged a number of schemes to promote the standard of life of the PWD (Persons With Disabilities) in general so that every person irrespective of disability will get equal opportunity to access and participate.
But we must remember our duty towards the physically handicapped and the disabled, other than reserving a seat for them in one corner of public vehicles. We need to educate ourselves on how to treat with disables. We must ensure our support for the programs that empower disabled and provide them with the skills and opportunities to work and to contribute to society.
We are all unique in our own way, despite our disabilities or abilities!!! “Able” beings settle for the easiest solution whereas “Disabled” individuals could live their lives striving to do as much as they can so they should be accepted for who they are. They possess the potential to have a positive impact on the world. Let’s help create an inclusive environment for all.
The world needs more peace and love, and it starts with I, ME, And You!