Perceptions and misconceptions about disability
As a person with disability who has lived with it throughout her life I have experienced that there are certain perceptions and misconceptions that have not changed at all. Even after making so much noise over the media and social media there seems to be lack of awareness about certain matters related to disability.
One of the biggest misconceptions most people have is all disabilities are the same. And all persons with disabilities need to be treated the same way. No, this is not true. Each disability is different from other. Every person with disability is unique just like other human beings.
“You are an inspiration” – I am sure every person with disability must have heard this sentence zillions of times. Many a times wondered how can I be an inspiration for general things or chores that I do in my daily life like for instance going for a stroll or doing exercises, cooking, shopping, etc. If a person with disability inspires you there should be some valid context to it. That person should have done something well beyond his/her capacity to achieve an exceptional goal in life to be called an inspiration or a role model.
Another common perception about persons with disabilities is that they are considered and referred to as children. The social mindset generally thinks that a differently abled person never grows mentally and in age. Rather this is not the case. It is very offensive to call an adult with disability a child. They too think, feel and sense alike any so called ‘normal’ adult. Then why refer or treat them as children?
Persons with disability should not be seen as a target of charity and mercy a disposition to show kindness and compassion everlastingly. When in a public place often a person with disability is offered money, food or clothings or any gift items especially in places of worship. Multitude of people don’t have a realisation that not all people with disability come from a lower economic background. They don’t comprehend that this gesture of theirs might hurt the sentiments or sensibility of a differently abled person.
Oftentimes when a person with disability goes out for socializing many commoners come forward and give medical advice without having any knowledge about the impairment. Many people on the basis of blind faith also suggest to go to a godman or place of worship for a cure of the disability as if some magic will happen and the person with disability will be fully cured. If this was true, then there would be very few disabled persons in the world.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have about people with disability is that people with disability don’t need to get educated. Education is a least priority if disability is acquired by birth or in early childhood. Most often parents and the family of the disabled child feel treatment of the child more crucial than education. In the bargain the parents don’t realise the far reaching impact education can have in the life of the child. The thinking the parents and others in the society have is that how can education help an impaired child. He/she is not going to work or do any job when they grow up. What the close folks of the person with disability don’t deliberate is that education means empowerment to everyone be it abled bodied people or be it person with disability. Education is an eye opening tool to the world. It is one of the major keys to lead an independent and dignified life.
Very often when people encounter a person with disability they tend to avoid direct communication with him or her. The tendency is that they prefer to communicate with a associate of the concerned person with disability even if he/she has a mind of their own and can voice for himself or herself having understandable speech. This might be disrespectful for a person with disability. Even if the he/she may have unclear speech or may be speech impaired there may there may be other ways to communicate directly and respectfully.
Disability is a matter of perception. The world should change the outlook towards disability. People need to do away with perceptions and misconceptions about disability. It is high time we create an equal and inclusive world for all.
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