Is disability a curse?

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It is tragic the kind of perception people had in those days, which has also molded the opinion of some people in the world of today. I read recently that between the 1960s and 1980s, people with intellectually or developmentally disability were often sterilized to avoid their “spreading” their disabilities to the population of the society considered to be abled. The most despicable perception was that disability was a punishment from God and that these “people” are less than human. That was too bad! Notice I put the word ‘people’ in quotation marks. That was to emphasize the fact that they are humans as well.

Before now, people with any unique ability (a coinage I use for disability) were isolated from the society owing to many unfathomable myths. At such facilities, these people became neglected and utterly abused without any protections. It is profoundly amazing how the various laws of states and nations have been put in place to protect individuals with unique abilities. This does not mean that there are currently no facilities or countries with no issue of neglect and abuse of humans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDDs).

According to Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, IDDs are disorders that are usually present at birth (usually before 18years) and that negatively affect the trajectory of the individual’s physical, intellectual, and emotional development. These conditions usually have side effects on many of the body parts. In my view, IDDs are based on precise comparisons between a persons' development and those of his or her aged peers.

In fact, IDDs affect the nervous system (autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome), sensory systems (preterm infants), body metabolism, etc. However, this article is not about the various disorders, their symptoms, causes, effects, and management. It is to state the fact that people with IDDs are also humans. The way we treat them shows what kind of people we are and how we would possibly treat other humans without IDDs.

Furthermore, when we talk about abuses and neglect of individuals with IDDs, these most of the times happen at their homes by those who are supposed to love and care for them. If you think having disability makes life so sweet and easy, try fixing your hands in work gloves, tie your fingers and then try to button your shirts. How does it feel? Frustrating! If only we can encourage people with IDDs and give suitable environments to try their abilities, they will be at their bests. And can help make a change in the world. Disability is not a curse. Most IDDs are not hereditary. There is no point getting scared of them or putting them aside; they are humans like you and me. Do not forget that the disabled were born by the abled.

I leave you with this inspiring video of Matt who has cerebral palsy and finds it difficult to communicate. He is a computer programmer and has a business of his own. If you have children with disabilities, do not give up, show them the world and let them make a world of their own. Make them focus on what they can do, then they become their best like Matt.

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