Spouses ask and ponder upon several questions when they are planning to tie the knot and live together as husband and wife; how many children should we have? Which gender of a child does each prefer? What names will the children bear? Are just but a few among many other questions most asked. It is, however, unfortunate that spouses usually forget to ask the most important question of all.
What if we give birth to a child with a disability?
The Rotten Mindset
You may ask yourself why a mother would choose to abandon her child in the hospital, hide her child from the public eye, call her child a taboo, deny her child in public, and why a mother would mistreat her flesh and blood. This is not news as it happens in our immediate environments. Should we blame them?
Failure to ask the question ‘what if we bring forth a disabled child’ is the reason some parents hide their children from public eye. It could be due to embarrassment and the stigma they face from society. I will be damned if I fail to mention some of our primitive cultures which consider children with disabilities a taboo or a curse. Furthermore, the previous generations related disability to punishment from the ancestors for a sin or crime committed by one of the parents
So then, is culture and society to blame? This are some of the factors contributing to why there are several abandoned children with disabilities and why we, as a country, are still behind in matters of inclusion and acceptance of persons with disabilities.
I lay no blames on tradition and culture, but I choose to blame the elite society for not creating necessary awareness on PWDs. Spreading the word in all perspectives that persons with disabilities are just as capable as any other human being may go a long way in accepting this minority group.
How do you Spread the Word?
It is sad that some of us grew with and still hold the notion that PWDs are unable to achieve and do what other people can. Any type of disability does not hinder an individual from working and delivering efficiently, it only prevents one from functioning normally depending on his/her disability. However, assistive technology has brought compensations like hearing aids and cochlea implants for the hearing impaired, white cane and google voice for the visually impaired and wheelchairs for the physically disabled. These have helped make the lives of PWDs easier when going about their daily activities.
It is a fact to say ‘Actions Speak Louder than Words’ employing more PWDs in both private and government offices, institutions, and organizations, is a step towards accepting them as part of the society responsible for our country’s growth and development. Availing opportunities for talent development of PWDs may as well serve the purpose of creating awareness.
Additionally, asking the right question when you are thinking of becoming a parent may save you the shock and stress that comes with raising a disabled child. You can prepare psychologically and physically to receive him/her; after all, all children are blessings from God. Accepting your child as he/she is will enable you to mentor them, encourage them, and help them attain their full potential. Whether they are physically challenged, visually impaired, hearing impaired, Autistic, or with Albinism, they can still achieve the heights a fully capable child can. Scrap that, they can even do better.
There are a series of examples of PWDs who have made it not only in Kenya but in the world. We have blind DJs, deaf musicians (rappers), a politician with albinism, physically challenged DJ among other influential persons with disabilities to emulate.
I can therefore stand firm to say Disability is not Inability!
Article By: Linzer Kibebe