Apologies to patriotic people, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people & their emotions. Let's make this world a better place for them!
Apologies to patriotic people, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people & their emotions. Let’s make this world a better place for them!
My daughter Farheena is a young, smart lady with special needs. She is 26 years of age. I was diagnosed with 3rd Stage breast cancer when she was just 11 months old. Considering how our society responds to people who are different in any way, I was so scared to die that I kicked cancer and continued living. Of course, I had to undergo regular treatment to overcome cancer, but it was not tough.
What has been tough is fighting for the dignity my daughter deserves; especially in my immediate surroundings. Sorry patriotic people, my apologies to you in advance, but most of us Indians are not sensitive to special needs people and their emotions. At times I have come across angels as well, but most of them have behaved as though they carry the devil on both shoulders.
I visited the USA with my children in 2008. When I was going through some pictures of our USA trip, to my utter shock I found a lot of difference in the expressions of Farheena when she was in the USA and now when she is in India.
I pushed the thought aside thinking it was all in my imagination. Without mentioning anything about what I felt, I showed her pictures to a few of our friends and they said the same thing. They say she was a different girl in those pictures.
I feel sad about the fact that she walked around happily in Wal-Mart, Publix and other malls without caring as to who is looking at her. Often, she welcomed strangers with a ‘hi’ and they readily waved back a big ‘hi’ to her.
At times this was leading to quite some communication with Paula, my friend as a mediator for Farheena. No one treated her as a special needs girl there; she was just a special girl enjoying all the love and attention.
Back in India, most of the time Farheena is pushed into silence by people asking what she is saying over and over again. This was because they cannot understand her, or discuss what is wrong with her without even realizing they are hurting her emotionally.
They ask questions just because they have to satisfy their curiosity. They need not bother, as they know very well that they cannot help her in any way. At least they could allow her to be herself – a beautiful happy young lady.
Though I stand proudly with my daughter, it hurts when people are insensitive. The life of the differently abled people would be much better if people read this list and improved their behaviour.
This request comes directly from the heart of a mother with a special needs child. This is not an imaginary list but it is what I have come across in the past 25 years. Believe me, it is much worse than what I have put out here.
First and foremost:
Finally, please don’t take advantage of their innocence
Words have the ability to heal and hurt. Use your words wisely. Just because you can talk, you need not use that ability to create pain and sorrow.
Image source: Still from Shakuntala Devi
I am Farida Rizwan, 55, Counselor and Psychotherapist working as Senior Curriculum Developer with Chimple Learning. I am ardent blogger @www.chaptersfrommylife.com and share my life experiences of surviving breast cancer 3rd stage for read more...
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