Don’t change the world for them,but don’t change them for the world either!

I worked for an ngo in the years i spent at my junior college .We used to visit schools for  the under-privileged on a regular basis,one incident that will always remain in my memory from my entire term in the ngo is from the day we visited a school for the specially enabled.We spent our entire day there with the children,when we were about to leave my friends wanted to visit the washroom ,I waited for them in the corridor. Soon my sight caught a  boy I had met earlier that day standing  there ,timidly looking at me while partially hiding behind a pillar .It seemed like he was shying away from talking to me  but  really wanted to ,I went closer and asked if he wanted something .He put his hand inside his pocket and removed two chocolates,  his eyes glued to  the floor he gave one to me and put the other one back in his pocket .I slowly lifted his chin with my fingers and looked into his eyes, he was a 14 year old boy diagnosed with autism but the only thing that I could see in his eyes that day was baby-like innocence ,the same innocence I see in my cousins back home  who are almost a decade younger to him. That’s when i realized he wasn’t any different !He was just a child who wasn’t his age.

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What do you mean by children with special needs? They are children who are diagnosed with a disability or a combination of disabilities. These disabilities may be physical or mental e.g. Down syndrome, autism, etc.

There has been an argument on why they are referred to as special children ,is there anything literally even special about them? All these years they have been referred to as ‘mentally challenged’, ‘spastic’ or even ‘retarded’ and various sorts of names derogatory to us and whose meaning is alien to those who were addressed with them. I totally agree that they shouldn’t be called special children, because we don’t actually have any ‘special children’ we just have children with NEEDS that are special.

Often their plight is not as visible as their disorders and that is why they are regarded as a liability; a burden whose load the people around them are bearing . I wouldn’t say we aren’t sensitized when we come across such children, surely, we are. But, I’d like you to imagine for a moment, that you are sitting on a bench in a park. You see a toddler playing with Lego blocks, unable to construct a straight tower.Majority of you would just have a slight smile and admire the cute frown on her face .Quiet normal, right? Now let us go back and imagine the same scenario but this time there is a girl with autism who is in her early teens, unable to construct a Lego tower, with the same frown on her face .Do you still have that smile and do u still find that frown cute? You did not even realize but you just wore the glasses of sympathy and apparently, you are considering helping her out .Did she ask you for a helping hand? Did she even look at you? No right? but you still considered assisting her, because you ASSUMED that she wouldn’t be able to do it by herself .You had more faith in a toddler than a teenager or to be more precise a teenager whose disability you instantly noticed but not her repetitive efforts.

The real special need is not specially built schools or assistants, of course, all of this is really essential but the actual special need which mostly remains unfulfilled and unaddressed is the ‘need to be accepted’.

They may walk differently, talk differently, look different, require a lot more time to understand simple things, but don’t they deserve to be given a chance? Don’t they deserve to be unbranded from the “extra luggage” tag? I realize that they could have been much more productive and more contributing to society if they had been like the rest of us, but if you think that way , all of us can be more productive and greater contributors than we are right now! None of us can claim that we have totally unleashed our potential and we cant go beyond this.They don’t need to fit in or we don’t have to try and make them ‘normal’ as we call it,we just need to help them the best they can be !

“THE WORLD WORRIES ABOUT DISABILITY, MORE THAN THE DISABLED DO “

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1 thought on “Don’t change the world for them,but don’t change them for the world either!

  1. Impressive.
    Really liked those one-liners. They pinpoint the idea effectively.

    Liked by 1 person

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