Chennai: Over protection not right for disabled, says Vaishnavi Jayakumar

Most people live by the assumption that a disabled person will not be able to handle money.

CHENNAI: Prevention of Social Disabilities Act of 1957 contains various clauses, which refute the right of anyone from stopping a differently-abled from practicing his or her rights. But the ground reality, it seems, is that the law is being flouted.

In the name of care, a cap is put on the ‘capacity’ of the physically challenged, said Vaishnavi Jayakumar, co-founder of Banyan, and a disability rights activist. She said initially only seven ailments were considered disabilities under the law,. Later with much persuasion from activists, the list increased to 18.

“Schools and universities should be inclusive,” said K. Sandhya, who struggled a lot to get her daughter enrolled in school as a young child. When this mother of a girl with Down Syndrome wanted to enroll her daughter in a school a few years back, she was asked to make her daughter join a special school. Now, she says, with time, many schools have become inclusive, but there are still schools which do not accept a special child.

“When a disabled student studies in mainstream schools, only then can he learn things from people, whom otherwise he would have no exposure from. Also, when a normal student studies with differently-abled does he learn how to be more accepting of them,” said Vaishnavi.

A differently-abled person through life faces double disability, she added. For instance, she spoke about an intellectually challenged person who was not allowed to have his own bank account and needed the signature of another person with whom the account was linked.

“Most people live by the assumption that a disabled person will not be able to handle money, or can’t be able to live a married life.” she added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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