Disabled By Our Own Abilities

Posted: January 1, 2016 in Current
Tags: , ,

We are quick to define someone as a disabled person just by certain characteristics.  Blind by eyesight; deaf by hearing; paraplegic by the loss of the use of limbs.  All conveniently categorized to make it easy to define someone’s ‘disability/impairment’.

Imagine you find yourself in pitch black darkness, not being able to see your own hand in front of your face.  Imagine a deafening silence while waking up early in the morning and walking on the beach.  Now, imagine spending a whole day without any of your senses or use of them.

Yet, “abled bodied” people are more concerned about how awkward it feels to stand next to a blind person while commuting or stare when a deaf couple use sign language to communicate.  What makes abled bodied people any more a human being than another?  A woman is not less of a human because she is female; superiority is not defined by race.  Where is the divide?

‘Abled bodied’ people’s disability is in their abilities! With 20:20 vision, we are blind to see the beauty in life – people and nature.  With perfect hearing, we hear but do not listen to a single word!  We are so obsessed with the abnormalities of others, that we forget to live!  To make it worse, here are some thoughts to ponder on:

  • There are no effective policies to provide a quality education to children with a disability (source: http://www.globalpartnership.org).
  • It is estimated that 90% of children with disabilities in the developing world do not go to school.(source: http://www.globalpartnership.org) Only a fraction of this percentage will successfully find a job.
  • To purchase textbooks to further studies or your career, standard print is readily available. Braille is only available on request with very limited suppliers.  Braille print, or the converters are extremely expensive.
  • One can find a standard vehicle easily for acceptable prices, yet to apply modifications to such a car to cater for a disabled is almost impossible to afford.
  • In South Africa, sign language is one of the top 10 ‘languages’ used, yet it is not part of the 11 official languages.

It is clear that most businesses do not even consider catering for a small group of people, because there will not be an adequate profit margin.  The question I pose to these business owners and governments:  How can someone afford the necessary tools to make a living and add value in the commercial world of the a country, if there are no support since the school career right through to their adulthood?  I am not saying I have the solution to it all, but surely awareness to such a matter needs to be raised!

I have learnt such a great deal from the so-called disabled or ‘impaired bodies’.  Use what is given to you and appreciated every experience and moment, as you will never have a second chance to experience that specific moment.  People that have been thrown to the wolves, yet, they never complain, and they live each day for the blessing it is!  People that listen to your energy and your body language; blind people seeing more than many of us; paraplegics doing the extra mile… Because they can and they are willing and able!  You get no judgement and more respect from a single disabled person, than a full train of ‘abled commuters’.

Dedicated to a fallen angel, Trudie Arndt, with a heart as big as life itself.  A person we all came to love and respect. A person we all could learn a lot from.  A new year has come and past, but your lasting impressions will always be embedded in our hearts.


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