World Disabled Day:
The world is celebrating the World Disabled Day on the 3rd day of December. It is celebrated every year in recognition of the significance of the PWDs (Person with Disability). The PWDs are unprivileged segment of the society, almost all over the world.
Definition of Disability:
Disability is relative term, which refers to the physical, cognitive, intellectual, mental, sensory or developmental impairments. Furthermore it may be a combination of either two or more than two of them all. It restricts an individual from showing the natural ability to perform the normal day-by-day routine of everyday life.
No doubt everyone faces many sorts of deprivations and problems at certain stage in their lives. But the aspect of confinement of the PWDs through barriers is quite a different phenomenon which creates havoc and stigmatize the whole life of them.
The barriers which are faced by PWDs, can be described as:
- Less Physical Accessibility.
- Lack of Assistive Support.
- Negative Attitudes of the Society towards the PWDs.
- Fewer Access to Education Facilities.
- Preventing PWDs from getting Benefits from Services and Policies.
There are multiple barriers which create hindrance for PWDs and makes it difficult to perform routine life chores nearly impossible for them.
There are some of the most common barriers for the PWDs, discussed briefly below:
Behavioral barriers are the most common attribute of the social misbehave and maltreatment towards the PWDs. Some people try to block the way to carry through the daily routine activities, by their misconduct and ill-treatment. These barriers may include:
People have some stereotype myths regarding disability. in their opinion the PWDs are unhealthy and poor because of their disability.
Social behaviors tends to misconceptions related to disability which leads to dilemma, stigma, discrimination and social injustices to the PWDs. These fallacious concepts need to be amended that the disability is the result of a punishment for the PWDs for their sinfulness, wrongdoings and an indication of their misfortune.
It relates to the disability like hearing, speaking, reading, writing or any other type of communication impairment. If they are unable to use any communication equipment; they are considered the PWDs.
The communication barriers may include;
- Prevention from readability of written material for the PWDs with “sight impairment”.
- The use of small fonts or unreadable printed devices which hinder the sight impaired people from reading.
- Unavailability of Braille or On-Screen Readability Device which deter them from the reading stuff.
In the same context, auditory impairment is an obstacle to access the hearing equipment, such as;
- Videos may not have appropriate captioning.
- Oral communication without using any manual interpretation, like Sign Language.
Physical barriers are mainly structural obstacles, which are natural or artificially constructed. It could hinder or totally block the mobility and accessibility of the PWDs from entering any building. The physical barriers may include:
- Steps and stairs which bar an entry to a building or using a walkway.
- Unavailability of Mammography equipment which may help a PWD in standing up and move around.
- Unavailability of measuring and scaling equipment which may help accommodating a PWD in a wheelchair or refuting the difficulty in stepping up.
The Policy barriers are mainly relate to lack of awareness or enforcing the laws which are more or less beneficial for the PWDs. The existing rules and regulations require proper functioning and implementation. The policy barriers may include:
- Preventing PWDs from the opportunities to participate or take benefit from funded programs, services and other privileges.
- Barring PWDs from accessing programs, services, benefits and the opportunities as a result of physical inability; and
- Denial of appropriate employment opportunities to the qualified PWDs, so that they can get a reasonable job for earning an honorable livelihood for themselves.
Medical barriers deter PWDs from getting basic healthcare benefits for them from the hospitals or the Government institutions. These barriers may include:
- Unavailability of basic medical aid.
- Inaccessibility to healthcare units as well as to the medical equipment.
- Inappropriate timings and schedule for medical examination and treatment program.
- Little or absolutely no communication between a PWD patient and the physician; and
- The misconduct, misunderstanding and poor knowledge of the disability related issues.
This type of barriers relate to the deteriorating condition of social atmosphere where the PWDs born, grow, live, learn, work and ultimately die. It attributes to those social determinants of behaviors, education and health, where the functioning of the relevant authorities decrease manifolds when it comes to well-being of PWDs. The examples of social barriers are:
- Hardly a little segment of PWDs gets education because they don’t have an easy access to educational institutions. Furthermore they could not bear the expense of education.
- They are less likely to get employment.
- PWDs are more likely to live in poverty as compared to the normal fellow beings.
- Children with disabilities are four times more prone to experience harassment or violence against them, than that of the healthy children.
- The health affecting factors prove more havoc for PWDs.
It is a strange phenomenon for the PWDs in terms of transportation and mobility. PWDs don’t have proper accessibility to the means of transportation, due to lack of adequate facilities for travelling and move about. The transportation barriers include are:
- Lack of access or inconvenient transport system especially for the PWDs who are unable to drive a vehicle because of sight impairment or cognitive disability, and
- Public transport may unavailable or inconvenient for travelling to the distant places.
Author: Fehmeeda Farid Khan