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…

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