A lot of protests and depression stories are hovering over the internet. This is all because of the social exclusion of people with disabilities. The chaos, disorder, and disorganization are nothing else but the misconception of our minds as we all have our self made assumptions about the disabled.
Disability is the physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of a person. Disability can be a physical limitation but nothing can restrict a person’s passion.
The United Nations has reported that about 15% of the world’s population is suffering from a disability. About 2-4 % is with severe functional disability. These figures cause us to consider their rights and social status in a state. They should be recognized at a social, national, and international level.
The disabled should be given a standardized recognition at the state level and the legislation should consider them a part of the Nation as well. World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation), a ten membered international body home to 625 Million people has 2.7% of the ASEAN population and is reported to suffer from a disability. This is a conservative figure. There are such families who have refused to official or declare their disabled members as ‘disabled’.
The estimated 17 million PWDs( People with Disabilities) in ASEAN tend to be unseen, unheard, not counted, and not represented. They face discrimination and barriers in many spheres and stages of life. In day-to-day life, PWDs are often excluded from access to the physical environment, information, and social networks. They also face barriers to equal and appropriate education and opportunities to fair employment. Besides the added medical cost of living with a disability, PWDs also have to face the cost of adapting to mainstream products and transport to mitigate their disability. There is exacerbated either disproportionately low income or no employment at all.
We all have set our social limitations about disabled people. Traditionally, people consider disability as shameful and something which has to be hidden. They are considered misfortunate omens for their families rather this is not their fault at all. They have become a social stigma in society. We think that they do not have the skills and abilities to strive for themselves. This thing induces the factors which hurt the self-respect of such a person and they start to lose self-confidence mostly because of such social repulsion. This is the social exclusion of the disabled which is increasing as every level either it is societal, state, or international level. At societal levels, they are subjected to disrespect, unacceptance, and even domestic abuse.
International level steps:
At the state level, they are not given their proper identity at any forum. There are no proper educational institutions for such people at stretch. They need special attention from the very beginning so that they can progress in society despite their setbacks. At the international level, they should have legislative rights and recognition. 15% of the world’s population should not be ignored in any matter by thinking of them as useless ignorants.
Social Stigma Nurturing:
Another measure for reducing the social stigma is by grasping the problem from the root. There should not be separate institutions for disabled children rather they should be sent to the schools in which normal children go, only their classes or departments should be separated based on their respective disabilities. The normal kids who spent their school days with the disabled will also most probably develop into such strong individuals who will not see the disabled as someone strange or as an outsider which will remove the social stigma to a great extent and thus ensuring more pathways and more doors of opportunities to open for the PWD’s.
Awareness campaigns should be run to show that the PWDs are not useless rather are differently-abled. A proper quota for such people must be defined. One such example of social inclusion is by KFC. They have some of their staff seats reserved for the PWDs. From the local community to the United Nations level, the PWDs should have proper representatives who will bring their problems to that level and empower them to be an active part in a nation’s progress by such steps, these people will no longer be considered as a social burden on the society. For the journey of PWDs from ‘considered burden’ to be socioeconomically useful members of the society, the PWDs need to hold the responsibility to acquire the skills needed to be accountable for their success in life.
The educational strategies adopted by most of the special education institutes in developed countries are skipping subjects, simplified assignments, shorter homework, extra aids, extended time, and a flexible environment. The accommodations such as responsive, presentational, setting, and scheduling must be done. The therapies such as speech and language therapy and the special needs of psychological service, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, orientation, and mobility are provided.
The disabled people who get involved in disagreeable activities should be negotiated and rehabilitated to pull them out of the situation. The development of psychiatric and rehabilitation centers properly can help out the people suffering from such conditions. This enhances the social acceptance of psychological and depressed people suffering from various mental disabilities.
Calling names on the base of the type of disability a person is suffering from is another issue in our societies. This cowardly act of social exclusion hurts their self- respect and makes them feel like they are not accepted socially. Such type of behavior towards them must be eradicated by social awareness campaigns and the recognition of the PWDs from the very initial studies. Being human beings, they should be provided with equality as well as equity. So that they can progress in life as well.
The need of the hour is the recognition of the disability at the state and legislative level. The blind should be given appropriate opportunities and special jobs having modern technology to accommodate them, rather than most of them are seen on the roads begging for sympathies., the government should also provide them reasonable medical assistance as well. The handicapped people in developed countries are provided with suitable jobs, such facilities are needed to be introduced in developing and under-developed countries as well.
“Disability can be a physical limitation, but nothing can limit a person’s skill.”
Enough examples to undo exclusion:
Stephen Hawking was suffering from ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) that gradually paralyzed him over the years but he has an IQ of 160. He made remarkable discoveries and inventions There are countless other examples of PWDs who have shown their worth to this world by their talents. Frida Kahlo was an artist and a self-portrait painter who was suffering from spina-bifida and polio. John Nash was a great mathematician but was suffering from schizophrenia. Andrea Baccelli was an Italian opera singer and she was blind.
Looking at this, we should repent on our social behavior with the PWDs, and should try our best to undo the social exclusion that we have been practicing years and years.
There should be communities that check and balance on every person and they should also point out those who manhandle or try to oppress the disabled. There should be more scholarships for such individuals and their families and special educational opportunities for PWDs. They should be encouraged to do jobs and utilize their abilities to contribute to their nations. Begging on the roads on the name of sympathy due to disabilities has become a mafia that has now become a business. Families after families, generations after generations are being exploited and this trend is hurting the socio-economic status of the under-developed countries. Trans genders should also be given proper job opportunities and chances to participate in social events so that such prostitute mafias will be shattered to grounds and there will be social acceptance of such people.
The lack of institutes for PWDs is another issue to be addressed in developing and under-developed countries. The check and balance of such institutes and providing them with modern and latest facilities should be considered as one of the national duties of the Government. Although there are such institutions that are not functioning properly as they should. Such private institutes must be nationalized and must be made government institutes that are provided a handsome chunk of the country’s budget to operate.
Research and developmental centers should be established to aide such people and to hew out the best possible cure for congenital and pathological disabilities. Research and Science have made artificial eyes and hearing-tools for such people. The national and international supervision of such institutes will give a very positive result in this respect.
There is a need for a national institute of disability in every country which is meant for capacity building, developing and exploring new disability research, and translating this knowledge via training and technical assistance. Particular areas of concentration are employment, statistics and demographics, education, health, and program participation. These national institutes of disability must structure a proper way to identify the truly disabled and bring them in the notice of the government institutes to provide them with the basic needs including nutrition, medical aid, and education so that there is amelioration in the challenging lives of the people with disabilities. The research on social exclusion has ended up on the fact that there is a reasonable percentage of unemployment of the disabled.
By identifying successful strategies to find and maintain employment, these surveys will work to reduce the employment gaps between people with disabilities and normal people. In doing so, it looks to develop innovative and sustainable approaches to improving employment
People with disabilities have already been living a very challenging life due to the disability they are suffering from. The study also confirms that in spite of the civilization that we have now-a-day, still there is the social exclusion of PWDs in the society. Recommendations have proved that the enforcement of the non-discrimination act still needs more attention. The person who is already facing a disability when subjected to social stigma along with domestic abuse makes him mentally ill and depressed. This depression can lead to such issues that are illegal and unethical for society.
The things which we should do to ensure the social inclusion of people with disabilities can be summarized as
First of all we should accept them as a useful part of the society.
Secondly, they should have a proper identity of their own, so that they could feel like they mean something to the state and that they owe something to the nation just like every other normal person.
Thirdly, “special education institutes” should be developed and nationalized to ensure maximum education facilities to the people with disabilities.
Fourth one, “Research, and aiding and rehabilitation centers should be established and modernized.
Fifth one, such Government policies should be brought into action which will ensure equal rights for people with disabilities.
The representatives of the disabled (who are themselves disabled) should be included in policy-making of the nation.
Awareness campaigns should be run to provide these people with the honor and respect they deserve.
The curriculum amendments must be made to give these people their right status in the society. There must be a social code of conduct for such people
Scholarships and fund policies for their medical aid and education.
Last but not the least, one is to give these people recognition in every possible field of life where they can be adjusted.
Economic growth has outpaced that of many other regional and global economics when studied have proved that by true inclusion of the world’s 15% population of PWDs in the labor force and other employments, we can look forward to the reaping rewards of this inclusiveness. By these bricks of social inclusion, we can construct a palace of prosperous society indeed.
“One vision, One Identity, One Community lead the way forward in reversing the economy of disability.”
United Nations report on disabled people:
United Nations Inclusion strategies of disabled:
Written By: Ariba Fida Chattha
Ariba Fida Chattha – A medical student currently in third year at Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore, originally from Kasur. I often think about various things strategically and from an analytic point of view. I love to write articles on different topics from psychology to current affairs.