DISABILITY IS NOT CONTAGIOUS BUT OUR ATTITUDE IS.
Ngozi Okoii – Owube : Special Need Educationist (Startright Consulting)

Intellectual disability  (sometimes called “cognitive disability “) is not a disease or a contagious condition.

However, Our behaviour /attitude towards individual wit intellectual Disability might be contagious.

This type of disability  (which differs from person to person can be caused by any condition which impairs development of the brain before or during birth in early childhood.Children with cognitive disability may develop slower than other children in terms of speaking , walking and
taking care of themselves  (showering, eating, and dressing.)

The majority of individuals affected by these disabilities shows only mild symptoms and with the right support, can greatly improve, learn and develop. When Tobi (not real name) is out in public,  he has received numerous stares, deliberate avoidance and even people jumping out of his way quite often.

Most of these reactions are prompted by discomfort alongside the feelings of unfamiliarity. In essence people are afraid of what they do not know or understand, meanwhile.

Tobi has “sensory  issues” which makes him behave in a” strange manners”.Parents attitudes can definitely affect how children see disabilities as well- they can sense when their parents are uncomfortable among individuals with disabilities and this in turn makes them uncomfortable among such people too.

Children needs to know that disabilities are nothing to be afraid of and they’re most certainly not “contagious “.What is even more important is that children need to realize that everyone is different  and it is okay.

That’s what makes the world interesting.Everybody is different one way or another. Some differences are just more apparent than others. But ultimately “all of these differences should be accepted and embraced.

We ( parents, family , schools and the government) need to put up a right attitude in loving , understanding and accepting these children in order to help them attain a level of independence as they grow. If a teacher or a classmate has a wrong attitude towards ( Tobi) more of his Classmate tend towards doing that. That wrong attitude has become contagious.

Lots of people are guilty of this wrong attitude. Tobi’s mum wants Tobi in a ‘regular school’ , she doesn’t want him in a school where his abilities can best be addressed because she doesn’t feel comfortable with other kids there.

Then maybe one school out of 20 schools are willing to accept tobi with a condition that he comes in with a facilitator, then Tobi is completely left alone with his facilitator, more or less a class in a class. Other children’s parent  in his class are concerned about the effects the presence of that child will have on their kids.

Then the larger society is moving on like these kids don’t even exist. In conclusion as to mediate this wrong attitude and foster the right attitude, we all need to find out more ( awareness) on how best to help build kids with different abilities to an optimal balance.

We can all begin by asking, reading, helping and following through.Bearing in mind that keeping a child in a place not best for him/her because of some personal gain is also a wrong attitude. Time is key for children with different abilities.

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START RIGHT CONSULTING
We integrate interactive play activities, physical sensory amd motor skills, group activities with effective amd educational and behavioural method using individualised curriculum.

Start Right programmes has brought about positive changes in children. If your child have traits of Autism, Attention deficit, social & emotional disorder, behavioural therapy and other learning difficulties. Please visit Start Right Consulting today for one on one chat with our specialists @ 3, Afinnih Street, Off Adisa Bashua Street, Off Adelabu Road, by Masha, Surulere, Lagos – Nigeria.
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