Disability Is Not A Curse: Deciphering Disability In Society

Disability, be it physical or mental, has been largely misunderstood by many. While some fail to understand the condition, others might be insensitive to it. Then there are some who believe that disability is a curse.

How does one define disability?

According to the World Health Organisation, the term disability is an umbrella term for any type of physical or mental impairments, participation restrictions and activity limitations. It mainly refers to any impairments, be they physical, psychological and mental, that affects participation and normal functioning of individuals in the societal structure and can be caused by environmental, genetic or personal factors. The term disability is precisely used when encountering basic difficulty in performing physical tasks like walking and facing discrimination in social situation like employment, transportation, education etc.

Why is it important?

To ensure sustainable development of economies on the whole, it is very important to treat this social agenda with seriousness. When people with disability are given the tools to self dependence and skill sets, they can act as contributing members to society and the economy, making them more valuable. Disabilities caused by various factors like accidents, aging, illness, hereditary or genetic diseases often affect the health conditions of those affected.

Social development and disability often go hand in hand. When people with disability are lower on the priority list, they are more likely to live in poverty without basic amenities and rights like housing, education and healthcare. Similarly, the increasing incidence of poverty can give rise to disability owing to the inability to afford treatment. This is a never ending cycle that can only be stopped when people with disability are allowed to become educated and employed. giving them opportunities to healthcare, nutrition and social interaction. When this doesn't happen, disability can become worse and affect the economic and social wellbeing of the individual and their family.

Children with disability cannot reach school and adults with disability will be limited to their wheelchairs or homes. With additional employment and educational opportunities for young and old people with all disability, this problem can be corrected over time. Access to transport, medical care, social interaction and employment can give rise to income and increase their quality of life.

When disability is misunderstood

While there are several benefits and welfare options given to persons with disabilities bygoverning bodies, they are often marginalised by society. Exclusion of the disabled is seen as a cultural norm and often associated with religious beliefs, especially those of being cursed. Families with disabled members in rural societies often blame the mother for birthing a child with disability and often use harsh ways to ill-treat them.

However, things are looking up slowly, albeit surely. With advanced medical and healthcare options, special schools, vocational training and increased presence of non-profit organisations, the lives of people with disability are improving in all sectors of society. With the intention of teaching individuals about living with their limitations while learning new skills, people with disability today are more independent than ever.