EDITOR: OLUSEYI ELIZABETH ODUDIMU
Disabled Individuals are Intelligent and Resourceful, but May Struggle to Realize their Potential If we do not Create an Inclusive Society.
Disability is a physical or mental impairment, which can deny an individual the ability to function well in society. It could be Psychological Disorders, Invisible or Visible Disabilities, and can affect vision, hearing, thinking, learning, movement, mental health, remembering, and communication, and causes social relationships disorder.
Individuals with disabilities in Nigeria persistently face stigma, discrimination, and barriers to accessing basic social services and economic opportunities. Misconceptions and negative beliefs surrounding the causes of disabilities put disabled individuals in a disadvantageous position and they may experience negative attitudes at family and community levels. While people with disabilities may face barriers because of their disabilities, they deserve to have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Disability discrimination is when someone is treated unfairly and people are put in a more disadvantageous position. They are who they are, and we might not be able to change their conditions, but we can change the narratives. It is improper to look down on them or make them feel that they are disabled and incapable. If we do this, we are reducing them to nothing and this can impact their mental well-being. it is inhuman!
Furthermore, Nigerians need to reshape their dynamics and understanding of disability and also create a conducive disabled environment for the vulnerable. We must understand the psychological implications of Harassment, Victimization, and Discrimination against disabled ones in society. Not being fair to a disabled individual is unwanted conduct that can cause a distressing, humiliating, or offensive environment for that person.
We need to gain knowledge, and appropriate body and verbal language that can be used to communicate effectively with disabled people. We have to be selective in our choice of language while addressing people with physical or cognitive disabilities, improper language like “retarded” can be so unpleasant and frustrating, which may aggravate their condition. Please let us join the arch of those providing assistance to disable people rather than bring them down.
Nigerians need to generate critical thinking about humanities and ways of treating the disabled, which will reshape our customs, individual mindset, and social and political perspectives. We should acquire education about disability. Knowledge is a powerful tool in fostering social change and creating a more hospitable, accommodating, and tolerant world. Moreover, disabled individuals are intelligent and resourceful and need high-quality treatment. Disabled people are struggling, show understanding and empathy when dealing with them, be a good listener, and accommodating.
POSSIBLE WAYS TO HELP DISABLED PEOPLE ACHIEVE INDEPENDENT AND FULFILLING LIVES
- Let’s be sensitive towards the disabled and assist them in rehabilitating into the mainstream of society.
- Be thoughtful and respectful to them.
- Disabled people need friends and acquaintances, and not oppressors.
- Majority of them can do many things themselves and need psychosomatic support. Let’s give them the required support.
- Treat them like a regular person, they are unique and have abilities. So ask if they need assistance before offering to help.
- Stop calling them all sorts of names, this can aggravate their conditions and also cause psychological problems
- People with disabilities are ambitious and want to work. Do not discriminate! Employ them.
- Stop engaging in avoidance behaviour towards them.
- Give back to those with disabilities by volunteering, donating money, or helping with accessibility.
You do not want to know how it feels to be disabled, feel out of place, unable to act like every other person, feelings of being excluded from society and inability to partake in all activities like every other people. Unfair treatment of the disabled can cause emotional trauma. That is not good enough. We can do better.
Please Nigerians, stop making life miserable for them, they have enough burden already, why add more?!
Nigerians, we need to modify our way of life and adopt a better way of treating everybody’s needs as vital as ours.