DISABILITY or THISABILITY: Understanding the MYTH and REALITY of Differently ABLED Children and their need for PROTECTION(7)

Thank you for staying with us on this discussion. I am glad to announce to you that we have come to the end of this discussion as I share with you the last set of Child Protection CREED. I charge you to pay attention as you have done over the weeks.

9. One Believer is Enough: Helen Keller was born on 27th June, 1880. At nineteen months she suffered “an acute congestion of the stomach and brain (probably scarlet fever) which left her deaf and blind. She rose to become political activist, and lecturer. She became the first ‘deafblind’ person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Through the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, overcame the isolation imposed by a near total lack of language. She later flourished as she learned to communicate effectively. At age eleven, Helen had authored her first story, The Frost King. At the age of sixteen she passed the admissions examinations for Radcliffe College. While at college she wrote the first volume of her autobiography, The Story of My Life. The story was published serially in a journal. In 1902, at the age of twenty-two, she published her story as a book. By the time she had graduated at the age twenty-four she had mastered five languages. She had developed interest in women’s rights while in college and a major campaigner in favour of universal suffrage. She also became friends with several notable public figures of her time. Max Eastman, a journalist became her friend during this period. He would later write: “The gleam of true, courageous and unaffected joy in living that shone out of her gray-blue eyes. Her face was round; she was a round-limbed girl, perpetually young in her bearing, as though her limitations had made it easy instead of hard to grow older.” Keller in pointing her world to the secret of her exploits wrote: ‘I had once believed that we are all masters of our fate – that we could mould our lives into any form we pleased. I had overcome deafness and blindness sufficiently to be happy, and I supposed that anyone could come out victorious if he threw himself valiantly into life’s struggle.’
But do you know, that may have been no Helen Keller, without Anne Sullivan, was an American teacher, best known for being the instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller. She was also blind but she did not only rise above her situation, she became Helen Keller’s teacher and dedicated the whole of her life to bringing out the best in Helen Keller.

10. Love Does the Magic tough love: Lizzie Velasquez is one of three known people in the world who suffers from a syndrome which prevents her from gaining weight and has caused blindness in her right eye. Has also been tagged the ugliest girl in the world. But today, she has refused to be deterred by the opinion of many about her. She has moved one to get a university degree, she has written three books and she is well-sought after motivational speaker. She is 25, sharing about her many struggles and triumphs, she attributed her secret to the love she received from her parents. You know, love to children means acceptance and attention. Her parents gave her both. They did not treat her as if she has a problem. They accepted her fully. Not only that, they gave her attention and empowered her with life skills to pursue a meaningful future. She said, ‘I credit everything I have done today to my parents…’ She also talks about the response of her parents to the doctors, who told them about her many so-called disability and the implications thereof. She said her parents responded, ‘we are ready to take her home, love her and raise her to the best of our ability.’ “I’ve had a really difficult life, but that’s OK. I’m going to let my goals and my success and my accomplishments define me, not my outer appearance.’

11. ‘The Only Disability in Life is a Bad Attitude,’ says Scott Scovell Hamilton: Hamilton story is very inspiring, of a truth he knows exactly what he means by the foregoing statement and he is qualified to make it. I believe is statement, which came out of his personal struggles and triumph over what is tagged disability. Scott

Hamilton, an American was born on August 28, 1958, and was adopted by college instructors Dorothy and Ernie Hamilton. The young Hamilton suffered from Shwachman syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by limited nutrient absorption and a shorter stature.Though Hamilton faced significant health challenges, the boy thrived once he took to the ice, playing hockey but choosing to focus on figure skating, entering competitions by the time he was 11. He relocated to Illinois to take up training, but stopped in the mid-1970s due to its high financial costs. Hamilton resumed his focus on the sport after his mother’s death in 1977 and received sponsorship. He is cancer survivor.

Hamilton is a retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist. He won four consecutive U.S. championships, four consecutive World Championships and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. In 1990 he was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

According to UNICEF, children are not disabled because they cannot walk, hear or see. They are disabled by the society that excludes them.’ This again addresses the attitude of our society to so-called disability in children. The truth of the matter again is that a child is not disabled until the people around him convince him he is. The only disability a child will ever suffer is the one inflicted by the primary and secondary custodians.

Through his many struggles and outstanding triumphs and achievements, Hamilton has demonstrated that the real disability is not physical or mental impairment. The real disability is our attitude towards so-called disability in ourselves and others. This is a mouthful and nourishing food for thought for those who have been tagged disabled or those are responsible for providing them care.

12. Sign up for the RULE OF THE RIGHT ATTITUDE: This is the father of all rules. What does it say? It simply says: ‘remove completely, our unfounded prejudice, throw them into the sea of repentance and forgetfulness and deliberately trust God for His wisdom to see their hidden ability and treat them as normal human being.’ Many have achieved this in the past and brought out the HIDDEN ABILITY in children with THISABILITY. We too can do it…It is TIME…It starts with ME…It starts with YOU…It starts with US.

The need for protection

According to the UNICEF report, Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable members of society. They stand to benefit the most from measures to count them, protect them against abuse and guarantee them access to justice. Anthony Lake, Executive Director, UNICEF on the foreword of the report wrote and I conclude with his thoughts ‘This edition of The State of the World’s Children includes contributions by young people and parents who show that, when given that chance, children with disabilities are more than capable of overcoming barriers to their inclusion, of taking their rightful place as equal participants in society and of enriching the life of their communities.’

I am signing out…I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

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