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How Community Care Can Avert Injustice Against Children With Disabilities

Specially abled children face a lot of difficulties and are deprived of their needs and rights. This issue is more prominent in rural areas and in low socio-economic strata wherein disability is seen as a stigma and something to do with magic and outwardly forces

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According to The World Bank, 15 percent of the world’s populations are suffering from some form of disability. One-fifth of the world population, which is between 110 million to 190 million suffer from significant disabilities, and India constitutes around 80 million of the differently-abled population. In India, 1.67 percent of the population is suffering from disabilities and out of those, 35.29 percent are children. Differently-abled children are the most dependent on others for every little task and that makes them the most vulnerable to discrimination. Specially abled children face a lot of difficulties and are deprived of their needs and rights. This issue is more prominent in rural areas and in low socio-economic strata wherein disability is seen as a stigma and something to do with magic and outwardly forces. Differently-abled children are mistreated and made subject to a number of hardships.

Many parents and relatives get overwhelmed by their child’s disability and find it difficult to manage; they hence neglect the child and many of their needs and requirements. Even in public places, such as school or parks, specially-abled children are treated differently and are outcasted from society. There are many other difficulties differently-abled children face, such as the following:

Lack of school education- Differently-abled children, mostly in rural areas, are often deprived of school education. People think they don’t require education because of their condition, and many even find it too much of a task to take these children to and from school. Parents of differently-abled children in rural areas are already too burdened by their child’s medical expenses, and in most instances, they don’t send them to school to save the extra expenses. Moreover, teachers too lack the proper knowledge and training to teach these children the proper curriculum and be more accommodating to them. According to UNESCO, three-fourth of the children with disabilities do not attend educational institutes at the age of 5. The remaining one-fourth of these children from the age of 5 to 19 do not attend any institute.

Lack of facilities- Basic facilities like proper infrastructure and apt transportation, are lacking for children with disabilities. They face difficulties due to lack of proper roads, proper walking and commuting areas for differently-abled, lack of ramps in buildings, and lifts. Moreover, public transportation too isn’t appropriate for differently-abled due to lack of ramps and designated seats.

Lack of empathy- Society’s behavior is one of the biggest problems faced by differently-abled children. People lack empathy for them and mistreat them, they also refuse to cater to their special needs. Society often excludes differently-abled children and doesn’t treat them as normal. Other children’s parents forbid them to hang out with children with disabilities. At such a young age, being socially barred impacts these children deeply.

Deprived of many basic human rights- Differently abled children are deprived of basic rights such as education, good lifestyle, good food, and social inclusion. People think that they do not deserve these facilities just because they disabled. Many families don’t provide these children with good food, they don’t get them new clothes, they don’t take them out, and all because they think these children don’t need it. 

Mistreatment both physically and mentally- Just as children with disabilities are deprived of their basic rights, they are also mistreated to a great extent. In rural areas and low-socioeconomic strata mostly, people relate disabilities with superstitions. It has been reported many times, that children with disabilities are tied in a corner and are also taken to godmen to remove the “ghosts” in them. Many people don’t even realise that their children suffer from a disability and often beat and scold them for not doing things their way.

Solutions

Community-based rehabilitation programs- Different rehabilitation types including institutional, outreach based and community-based are beneficial for differently-abled children as they are able to maximise their physical and mental abilities. They have access to good services and opportunities and also proper healthcare services. Hence, various rehabilitation programs should be introduced for differently-abled children so that they grow up in a supportive, peaceful environment.

Improvement in infrastructures at schools and public places- The government needs to improve the infrastructures at public places like parks, malls and at schools. All places should be accessible to differently-abled children. They should not feel that they can’t visit places or get an education just because they can’t access the place because of their disabilities. Facilities such as ramps, wheelchairs, wheelchair and crutches friendly paths, entries to buildings and public transportation should be introduced for differently-abled children’s convenience.

Better education- School curriculum should be improved to match the learning abilities of children with disabilities. Moreover, teachers should be trained properly to teach these children according to their needs. Teachers are often not able to provide proper education to these children due to a lack of knowledge and training. Better curriculum and better teachers will benefit children with disabilities to learn more and get the education they deserve. Government and schools should organize exclusive classes for teachers and caretakers at institutes, to train them how to deal with differently-abled students. Educators should get certificates before they’re allowed to teach differently-abled students.

Workshops for parents, relatives, neighbours, colleagues- There should be workshops held in neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and other places wherein people who know any differently-abled children, can learn how to treat children with disabilities and how not to exclude them from groups. Workshops will help people learn how to be more compassionate and accommodating towards these children.

Special Classes- For all differently-abled children who attend special schools, those who attend normal schools and those who are not able to attend schools, there should be special classes organised. These classes should deal with explaining to these students in detail about disabilities and how to go on in life despite their condition. These classes should also explain to these students in details what careers they can pursue and what kind of jobs they can get in the future. 



Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Prashant Agarwal

Prashant Agarwal is president of Narayan Seva Sansthan

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