Monday, October 31, 2011

Persons with disabilities have ability to have meaningful Life to Live: Dr.K.Govindaraju, Director, SEVAI.

Disability awareness campaign by Trichy SSA-IED/SEVAI

Many people with disabilities in the recent past were separated from society or unable to access services because of their particular disability. For people with disabilities, being part of community life is essential. This includes having access to the same types of services and enjoying the same opportunities as the rest of the community. Thanks to SSA-IED for playing an important role in bringing about changes which enables people with disabilities to be more fully integrated into their communities with increased services for people with disabilities. A disability need not prevent anyone from leading an active, healthy lifestyle. Mountain climbing, basketball, curling, skiing, hiking, cycling or bowling is only a few examples of sports, recreational or active living endeavours available to “everyone”!
·         In the last twenty years we have seen significant progress made in addressing social and economic barriers faced by persons with disabilities.  We must not lose focus and fall backwards but instead keep raising the bar of inclusion higher.
·         Family caregivers and others who work in the home care industry need to have stronger support and more flexibility so that the needs of people with disabilities who want to live in their own homes can be met.
·         Most people with disabilities have the same dreams and the same goals as everyone else.  Sometimes they may need a little help to achieve their goals and other times they will be giving help to others.  Full inclusion of all of our citizens should be our shared objective.
·         We all hear about the champions with a disability.  Most people with disabilities are just regular ordinary folk trying to accommodate their disability while they get on with the business of living.
·         Enabling persons with different disabilities to live a life with dignity and meaning while enjoying full equality and inclusion in their communities is a challenge that we must all work together to overcome. The rights of full citizenship require that we build a community where all citizens regardless of having a disability can fully participate in all of the opportunities available to all other citizens. People with disabilities are working in partnership with government, business, labour and the community at all levels to improve opportunities to ensure employment. Promoting barrier free learning for persons with disabilities will help open those doors to a better tomorrow.
·         Become a partner in your community through Disability Awareness.
Words are important in conveying attitudes. A rose is a beautiful flower but if we called it a stinkweed it would not send the same message. Words like "suffers from", "crippled", "afflicted by" or "disease" suggest constant pain, a sense of hopelessness. Not all persons with a disability are sick or require special medical care on a regular basis. See the person first and the disability second. Getting an education and getting a job would be the best way to ensure Full Citizenship for all with dignity and independence. Learning is the key to opening doors for every citizen. Access to educational facilities and programs means more than wheelchair ramps and reserved parking spaces. We must try and include all citizens in our plans to make our services barrier free.
·         Physical access must be improved along with public attitudes and awareness of the needs of persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities offer skills and expertise often overlooked or underutilized in the past. New technologies and increased access to post-secondary education means that persons with disabilities are capable of doing work that many employers would never imagine.
·         Active living and recreational opportunities provides everyone with a sense of belonging as well as healthier lifestyles. Providing opportunities for full and healthy lives for persons with disabilities makes good economic sense and a better quality of life.
·         Persons with disabilities should have full access to public information in a format that is useful to them such as using large print, Braille, sign language, communication devices, computers, etc...
·         Everyone needs some help from other people at different times.  If you see a person with a disability who looks like they may need assistance, please remember to ask them first if they would like help and if so how you should do it.  Respect the person. Many people with disabilities are very interested and capable of working.  Look at their education, skills, work experience and attitude instead of looking at their disability. Having an affordable and accessible place to live is one of the most important needs of many persons with disabilities. 
·         We need to encourage government, private developers and the non-profit sector to work together on such projects.

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