Opening Charge: ‘Disability does not mean incapability: It is the wonderful diversity that enriches humankind.’ State of the World Children Report, 2013
Why the Discussion? It is important to hold this discussion because neglect to hold it does untold violence to the collective destiny of the children, who are erroneously categorized as disabled.
Please note that this is not a general discussion on children living with so-called disability. It is a specialized discussion focusing strictly on the need to protect the children, who are tagged, ‘disabled.’
In addressing the child protection issues, we will establish the problem of discrimination and abuse; discuss the types of what is called disability; trace the sources of abuse and discrimination, particularly in Africa; challenge our belief system by sharing unpopular but true perspective on disability; and establish protection as the number one need of every child, including those, who are said to be with disability.
I strongly believe that it is going to be an interesting yet challenging journey, yet I heartily invite you to join us as we explore change and its daring possibilities as it relates with this matter of children who are said to be living with disability.
By popular definition what is disability? According to Wikipedia, ‘disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person’s lifetime.’
Who are the children tagged disabled? Disability in children may include autism spectrum disorder, blindness/visual impairment, cerebral palsy, deafness, deafness and hearing loss, developmental delay, Down syndrome, emotional disturbance, epilepsy, intellectual disability and learning disabilities.
Facts and Figures: The World Report on Disability in 2011 reveals that 15 percent of the world’s population are said to have a disability and 106 million of these are believed to be children.
Please note that the definition of disability, quoted from Wikipedia, some of the so-called disability listed above and the facts and figures supplied by The World Report on Disability, referred to, are mere academic exercise as far as this discussion is concerned. They are used here not as authority of belief and philosophy on the matter. They are only used to satisfy the fact that we are aware of the general thinking and definitions on the serious subject of children, who are tagged disabled. Therefore, we will not dwell on the foregoing more than we have done as they do not go to the root of our discussion here.
The discussion continues tomorrow. Thank you for joining us. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…