PATIENCE…I EMBRACE YOU FULLY…

Patience is unassailable strength…
Impatience is dilibitating weakness…
Patience is a Force and a Fotress
Impatience is Vulnerability and Loophole…
Patience unlocks divine wisdom and help…
Impatience unlocks acute foolishness and handicaps the Creator of the whole universe…
Patience never misses the mark of God ordained destiny, having embraced focus….
Impatience falls for the error of many distractions…
Patience works with faith to wrought resounding victory…
Impatience works with doubt to wrought devastating defeat…
Impatience makes a move, thinking he is missing out…
Patience understands seasons and waits for his turn, persuaded that when he is due, he will not be deprived…
I have embraced patience as my ever-present companion, close to me as my breath, saying,’even if HE slays me, I will wait till my CHANGE shall COME, knowing that though it tarries, it is because it is for an appointed time with the GREAT ONE, who never misses an appointment…’
Yet I pray LORD, teach me to the great mystery of patience that I may embrace YOU fully…
Do have an INSPIRED week.
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his Knees on the LORD’S Day

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DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION(6)

5. Institutionalized Specialized Treatment Does Not Work: I have problems with specialized schools for children, who have been tagged to be disabled. When we send a child to specialized school because, he is blind, deaf or lame, you already discriminated against the child. We forget that if education is supposed to train a child for life, there is no world specially created for those, we have erroneously tagged disabled. For example, there is no bank or telecommunication companies, where only the blind and the deaf work. If we separate the child, we separate him from life forever and it is difficult for him to function in everyday society. That is why I believe wholeheartedly in INCLUSIVE EDUCATION, where children, who are tagged disabled, attend same school with their mates but receive special attention that their DIFFERENCE demands. That was the advocacy Nick Vujicic’s mother embarked upon when her child was born with no arms and legs. It was the law in Australia that children with THISABILITY could not attend same school with other children. She fought the law and by the time Nick came of age to go to school, the law had been changed.

Permit me to conclude my piece today with the testimony of grateful Nick: ‘I was born without limbs and doctors have no medical explanation for this birth “defect”. As you can imagine, I was faced with many challenges and
obstacles…Understandably, my parents had strong concern and evident fears of the kind of life I’d be able to lead. God provided them strength, wisdom and courage through those early years and soon I was old enough to go to
school. He concluded, ‘the law in Australia didn’t allow me to be integrated into a main-stream school because of my physical disability. God did miracles and gave my mom the strength to fight for the law to be changed. I was
one of the first disabled students to be integrated into a main-stream school… In my early years of school where I encountered uncomfortable times of feeling rejected, weird and bullied because of my physical difference.
It was something very hard for me to get used to, but with the support of my parents, I started to develop attitudes and values which helped me overcome these challenging times… My mom said ‘Nick, God’s going to use you. I don’t know how. I don’t know when, but God’s going to use you.’

6. Focus on what you have: if you are tagged disabled today or you are a caregiver to a child, who is said to be disabled, the first step we must take for ourselves or those under our care to address disability is to focus on reorientation. Instead of focusing on what the society says one does not have as a result of a so-called disability, one must focus on what one has and how to maximize same. We must understand that there is no human being, who has it all. Therefore we are all disabled in one area of life or the other. Therefore the best of human beings are not those without weaknesses but those who master their weaknesses by focusing on their strength, until they are defined by the strength and not their weakness. This is both personal and collective responsibility, but it must first be accepted as a personal responsibility by the person, who is said to suffer from disability by the society and his/her caregivers before it is accepted as a collective responsibility by the generality of the society.

7. So-called Disability does not take away our rights and dignity of human person: if you are said to be disabled, please note that, whatever name the disability is called must never be allowed to have impact on your dignity of human person. Therefore it is our primary responsibility to reject any attempt to reduce us as human beings on the basis of our disability…Remember the battle of crossed eyes…

8. Deliberately Generate and Keep Hope Alive: hope is an inevitable ingredient of human existence. We all need to keep hope alive for us to make sense out of life. Hope is an expectation for the best in every circumstance. Hope is stronger than disability. Hope is stronger than stigma, which disability often bring. Hope is real; it is generated by the human spirit. Generate hope and keep it alive as you journey on in life as a person living with disability.

I am signing out…By God’s grace, I will bring this discussion to an end…I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION (5)

ChildProtectionCREED™ for Children Tagged Disabled:

1.   There is no such thing as Children with Disability: there are only differently abled children. Therefore children are not disabled, they are only differently abled. Permit me to share with you the inspiring graduation speech of Eli, a boy with autism, at his 6th Grade graduation ceremony, posted on www. huffingtonpost.com ‘as we leave here today I have a challenge for all of you. We are all different. Not less, just different. We all have things we’re good at, things we need to work on, and things we need help with. Whenever you see someone else who is different, instead of just judging them or being a bully, I challenge you to offer help and treat that person with the kindness you have shown me over the last six years. Remember, all of you can make a difference in someone’s life. You’ve already made a difference in mine.’

2. Replace DISABILITY with THISABILITY: the word, ‘THISABILITY’ is the title of UNICEF campaign following the release of the State of the World’s Children Report, 2013, which focused on Children with Disabilities. I have since found another meaning for the word, which I have taken time to develop into a personal philosophy on this issue. I have changed the word to a phrase or call it, wordphrase: THISHIDDENABILITY. It simply means that if we agree that everything and everyone, who God created is good and it is for a purpose, we will deliberately depart from the popular position of the society and replace our perception of DISABILITY with THISABILITY. We must see children in this category as people with THISHIDDENABILITY that is not obvious to all but only few, who have deeper understating to see beyond the obvious. The foregoing belief will help us to bring the hidden potentials and abilities to the fore for the benefit of the child, his/her immediate family and humanity. The UNICEF report submits, ‘disability does not mean incapability: It is the wonderful diversity that enriches humankind.

3. Mental Myopia: The Only Disability I know: I think if there is anything like DISABILITY, it the people, who tagged others disabled, who are actually disabled. They suffer from a disability, known as Mental Myopia. It is self-inflicted. It is a mental and social disorder that makes someone or a group of people to refuse to see write off a person simply because he/she possess feature or capacities, which are not common. Those suffer from this disorder do not see beyond the present of a child because he/she is differently abled. They lack the emotional discipline and strength of character to see beyond the obvious, freeing themselves from popular opinion to embrace the genius of a child, who is simply different from other children and he or she is waiting to be discovered.

4. The Children, who are tagged, Disabled Do not Need Pity: John Foppe, was born with no arms. He wrote in his book, “What’s Your Excuse?’ the role his mother played in refusing to emphasize his so-called disability. The mother knew that if he was treated differently or indulged because of his so-called disability, he would never live a normal life; hence, she decided to throw self-pity away and face the reality of the situation. John turned out well. Today, he is independent. He was trained to do everything for himself. He is not a liability to anyone.

The journey continues tomorrow by the grace of God. Thank you for visiting and I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…The FUTURE…

DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION(4)

Where we go from here? I think it is time to address our beliefs and share progressive perspectives, which will help us to give children, who are said to be disabled, their rightful place in our society.

The truth of the matter is that until as individuals, organizations, nations or continent, we make deliberate, bold and consistent attempt to address our belief system, from where proceeds all our actions and omission towards children, who said to be disable, we will not make too much progress and the children and our continent stand to suffer for our social imbalance on this issue.

I believe that our attempt to address our belief system must focus on reorientation. Reorientation, I believe happen through enlightenment and not wishful thinking and directionless desire.

The foregoing is the core of this program. It is our desire to empower primary and secondary caregivers to see children, who are said to be disabled as God sees them as people, who are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the creator. The core of this program is to challenge traditional belief system and intercept it with radical but positive belief system, which is in full harmony with universal principles of how God created this world to function. The core of this program is to take a bold step to take another look at only of its treasures, which it is losing to ignorance and wrong belief system,

It is our long-held philosophy of child protection that Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement. As far as we are concerned, enlightenment focuses on prevention, while enforcement focuses on cure. It is often said that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, preferring prevention to cure, we have always spent our creative energy on the subject of child protection on developing preventive solutions.

Here is another of such efforts. In disseminating these unveiled efforts, we will take you through the letters of the law and the spirit of out CREED.

I will start with the law, which is the foundation of modern society but because we have also found that the law is not enough, we will round up our discussion with our CREED. What is this CREED, you may want to ask? CREED refers to Article of Faith…Statement of Belief…Value Code…The basis for peace and safety in the society is beyond law enforcement…The society must be interested in engaging higher code of human behavior to ensure peace and safety for the society, particularly our dear children. This higher code of human behavior is known as CREED and the natural enforcement agent of the CREED is the human conscience. It is important to note that the CREED is superior to the law. While the law focuses rules and regulation for the peace and stability of society, the CREED focuses conscience of the citizens, who are to use this law. Thus Benjamin Disreali, said, ‘when men are pure, laws are useless; when men are corrupt, laws are broken.’  How I wish that our society today will borrow this free but potent wisdom from Disreali and focus more on investing in character building than promulgating legion of laws to regulate human behavior.

We shall touch base with the law and CREED, because, even the law at its weak state is in support of our position today.

What does the law say about children who are said to be disabled? Article 2 of Convention on the Rights of the Child: States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

Article 7 of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Children with disabilities: 1. States Parties shall take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children.

2. In all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

3. States Parties shall ensure that children with disabilities have the right to express their views freely on all matters affecting them, their views being given due weight in accordance with their age and maturity, on an equal basis with other children, and to be provided with disability and age-appropriate assistance to realize that right.

The journey continues tomorrow by the grace of God. Thank you for visiting and I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…The FUTURE…

TO FIGURE OR TO FOLLOW

‘FOLLOW ME, I know your end before the beginning,’ He says…
‘I do not FOLLOW except I first have it all FIGURED OUT,’ says man, His handiwork.
As you labour to FIGURE OUT, I charge you to remember these three:
I. God didn’t consult you before creating this world…
II. God didn’t consult you before creating you…
III. God is not irresponsible to create you without PLAN and PROVISION…
We worry to FIGURE OUT when we are made to FOLLOW HIM who FIGURED ALL OUT before the world began…
I used to die FIGURING ALL OUT…
Now praise be to my FATHER, who by HIS abundance of GRACE, richness in RIGHTEOUSNESS and boundless in MERCIES causes me to FOLLOW…
He teaches me that it is in immutable character to cause all things to work together ALWAYS for my GOOD including my GOOFS…
Do have an INSPIRED week…
Taiwo Akinlami Sober on his Knees on the LORD’S Day

DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION(3)

Dear friends permit me to continue today by sharing with you the third reaction of the society to the so-called disability in children. No commitment to provision of social support services: the parents and guardians of children, who are said to be living with disability, are overwhelmed in this part of the world as there are no readily available social services. The UNICEF report earlier referred to in our discussion submits as follows, ‘children and adults with disabilities often face a wide range of physical, social and environmental barriers to full participation in society, including reduced access to health care, education and other support services.’ There are four rings of protection for children.

The first is the family, the second is the community, the third is the state and the fourth is the international community. The number one responsibility of the community, state and international community is to empower the family to effectively play the role of child protection. The state plays a pivotal role as the biggest social service provider for children. The state is not only to play the role of service provider; it is to provide the social and legal framework for the provision of these services. The challenge in our clime is that the family is almost abandoned and when they have children, who are tagged disabled, they face double trouble. Therefore the primary caregiver, that is parents/guardians are overwhelmed and cannot help their children in most cases.

We do not need to look too far to see that services are not available to support differently abled children, otherwise known as disabled. It is a sad commentary of a people and their government, who have lost complete touch with the reality of civilization; who are returning to the state of nature, where according to Thomas Hobbes, where life was brutish, nasty and short. The governments of Africa are not aware that the welfare and the security of the people shall be the primary aim of government, according to the fundamental principle of social contract. The people on the other hand lack the social and political education, the mental stamina and the awakened conscience to ask critical question and hold government accountable.

The sure dividend of the foregoing social imbalance is the neglect of citizens. Children are the most hit and the children, who are said to be disabled, are the worst hit. The truth is that the way we treat our children, particularly those who are said to be disabled is nothing but an intercontinental tragedy, which must be addressed in a most creative and meaningful manners in the best interest of the child.

What is the impact of the negative reaction of the society to children, who are tagged disabled?  

According to the UNICEF report earlier mention in this discussion, ‘abuse and violence discrimination against and exclusion of children with disabilities renders them disproportionately vulnerable to violence, neglect and abuse.’ This is a sad report. Children, who are said to be disabled, are in most cases robbed of their humanity and joy of existence. They are stripped of their honour and dignity and rendered immobile in the pursuit of their destiny. They are excluded from playing their role in the society and therefore, their rights are trampled upon. This is against the plan of God for those who are said to be living with disability.

Why this treatment, particularly in Africa? I think there are two major reasons why children, who are said to be disabled are abused and discriminated against:

1. Erroneous Belief: Outside the Circle report of Plan international, earlier referred to in this discussion further reveals what the majority of the members of society believe to be the cause of disabilities in children to include a punishment from God; result of “sins” committed by parents; an act by the devil; that the child was a sorcerer; witchcraft on the child/family; or the mother had looked at a disabled child during pregnancy. It is common for children with disabilities to be regarded as “supernatural”, “bizarre” or “demons”.

One of the major challenges we have in Africa is our extreme belief on things, we cannot explain. It is our general disposition that once we cannot explain something, we either idolize it or we condemn it. Both dispositions, I must say is very primitive and unprogressive. Progressive thinking demands the do not pass judgment on a thing, person or situation until we seek to understand same.

Unfortunately our primitive beliefs about children, who are said to be disabled and gender issues are not enlightened or changed, even when we claim to have acquired education but education has not acquired us in terms of positively forming our perspectives in the direction of progress. We still see so-called educated people, who believe in gender superiority or inferiority. We do not relate with people according to their contributions. We first consider their gender. You hear people say, I cannot allow a woman to talk to me like that. So their main challenge is not the wisdom in what the person is saying, it is with her gender.

I have made quick and brief allusion to gender because it helps bring the point of our belief on children, who are said to be living with disability home. It is sad the our education makes us to embrace the paraphernalia of western civilization in terms of our day to day living, but we have found it difficult to accept their thinking, which actually created the paraphernalia.

I take the foregoing informed position because I am fully aware that the erroneous belief about children, who tagged disabled is not limited to the uneducated or rural people. Facilitating a UNICEF meeting, years back and addressing the issues at hand, a top government functionary, who came in from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja told me the pathetic story of how she discovered that her family friends of close to two decades have a child, who could not walk. Before that day, she thought they were very close and they knew almost everything about each other. She had gone to visit the family. She got in and found nobody in the living room. She called for attention and nobody was responding. As she paused a bit to figure out why the doors would be opened and there was no one responding to her, she heard someone crying from a room upstairs. Curious and knowing that by virtue of their relationship she had the liberty to enter most places in their spacious and affluent apartment, she went upstairs. She was shocked beyond words to see a teenage boy, who was laid flat on his face and was asking for his meal. She later found out that was one of the sons of the family. She said, the teenager was said to the seventeen years old as at the time she discovered. At that time, the child has never received any form of formal education. The educated and affluent parents locked their son up for seventeen years because he could not walk. This boy did not have what is normally called learning disability, yet he was not allowed to see the light of day.

Remember that the parents, who perpetrated this act do not live in the village. They are not uneducated. They live in the Federal Capital Territory, which is supposed to be the center of modern civilization in today’s Nigeria, yet they have no civilization in them

Our belief is a big challenge and it must be addressed because either as individuals, organization or nation, we rise and fall on our beliefs.

2. Invisibility: UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report, 2013 aptly identifiedinvisibility as the major cause of abuse and neglect of children, who are said to be disabled. The report submitsexclusion often stems from invisibility, few countries have reliable information on how many of their citizens are children with disabilities, what disabilities they have or how these disabilities affect their lives. Children thus excluded are unknown to, and therefore cut off from, public services to which they are entitled.’

The journey continues tomorrow by the grace of God. Thank you for visiting and I charge you to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…The FUTURE…

DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION(2)

Reaction to So-called Disability: Globally, persons with so-called disability face discrimination, stigmatization and abuse. But the case is worse in our clime, Africa, where mistakes are considered a crime and weaknesses as embarrassment.

The unfortunate implication of the foregoing is that the prevalent negative and unchallenged perception of the society and about the so-called disable children has affected their perception of the so-called disable people about themselves. This is very simple, it is called, socialization. In this case it is a disturbing socialization because you hard find the children tagged disable rising above the limitations placed on them by the society as a result of their so-called disability.

It is important to note that the general perception of the society has also affected the primary caregivers of the children, who are overwhelmed by the fact that their children are said to be disable.

In view of the foregoing permit me to touch briefly on some of the general reactions of the society, primary and secondary caregivers of the children, who are tagged disabled:

1. Rejection: Many primary caregivers (Parents/Guardians) consider themselves unfortunate when they have a child, who is said to be disable and their first and natural reaction is shame and anger. Confronted with the fear of stigmatization, the primary caregiver rejects the child as they see the child as a source of embarrassment. In some extreme cases, the parents of children with so-called disability abandon their children.

Outside the Circle is a report ofresearch conducted by Plan International, published in September 2013, which provides in-depth information on the negative attitudes, discrimination and violence that children with disabilities face across West Africa, quoted a social worker from Togo, saying, ‘In my community, children with cerebral palsy who cannot stand are called snakes because they lie on the ground. To eliminate such children, ceremonies are organised at the river, where the affected child is left to drown and it is said that the snake is gone,’

2. Abuse and discrimination: Discrimination is the second reaction both from the primary and secondary caregivers. It is important to note that the root of discrimination is rejection. Same way there is discrimination on the basis of sex, so there is discrimination on the basis of so-called physical and mental disability. Rejection and discrimination pave the way for all forms of abuse against the child, who said to be living with disability.

According to the State of the World Children report of 2013 compiled and published by UNICEF, ‘children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be victims of violence…They are also thought to be at significantly greater risk of violence than their peers without disabilities.’

The report further states, ‘to this end, research teams at Liverpool John Moores University and the World Health Organization conducted the first systematic review, including meta-analysis, of existing studies on violence against children with disabilities (aged 18 years and under). Seventeen studies, all from high-income countries, met the criteria for inclusion in the review. Prevalence estimates of violence against children with disabilities ranged from 26.7 per cent for combined measures of violence to 20.4 per cent for physical violence and 13.7 per cent for sexual violence. Estimates of risk indicated that children with disabilities were at a significantly greater risk of experiencing violence than peers without disabilities: 3.7 times more likely for combined measures of violence, 3.6 times more likely for physical violence and 2.9 times more likely for sexual violence.’

Also the reports submits,Studies from the United States have shown that children with disabilities who are in preschool or younger are more likely to be abused than peers without disabilities. A national survey of deaf adults in Norway found that girls were twice as likely to experience sexual abuse, and boys three times as likely, as peers who had no disability. Children who may already be suffering stigma and isolation have also been shown to be more likely to suffer physical abuse.’

According to the report, ‘the type of disability appeared to affect the prevalence and risk of violence, although the evidence on this point was not conclusive. For instance, children with mental or intellectual disabilities were 4.6 times more likely to be victims of sexual violence than their non-disabled peers.’

The report concludes, ‘this review demonstrated that violence is a major problem for children with disabilities. It also highlighted the absence of high quality studies on the topic from low and middle income countries, which generally have higher population rates of disability, higher levels of violence and fewer support services for those living with a disability. This gap in the research urgently needs to be filled.’

Tomorrow, I will continue on the reaction of our society to what is called disability. I charge you dear reader to Think The CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…