Helen keller, a multi-handicapped ralliant lady who overcame her handicap, later became renowned for her writings and journeys. From her enormous experience, she once stated that the greatest fear of the handicapped person is not the handicapped situation, but the attitude of the people towards them.
Among the many handicapped groups of People, none has generated such pity among peoples of all generations as the blind. My brief conversation with a beautiful blind young lady testified to this. I asked her what she thinks about her condition and what her experiences were in the regular school, she attended, she said: ” This is an interesting and a sensitive question, indeed. Unfortunately, I suffer neglect not only from the students and the members of the staff of the School I attended but the teeming population as a whole is still very uninformed about the blind. A blind person is first and foremost a person, with feeling like every human being. Blindness is only an accidental sight. It is not what makes a person human. Regrettably, only a few persons are convinced that the blind are not very different from the sighted people”.
The blind lady further said, “In the regular school that I attended, I experienced many things that were hurtful to me. My abilities were underestimated. There were times I felt rejected. Worse still, because I was unable to take part in sports, I was considered different. Yet I know many sighted people who do not participate in sports.
Truly, I felt isolated from the student body, except when in class. I do not mean that they were unkind. The blind student is capable of doing many of the things that sighted can do. Yet questions such as, how do you read books, do you think you can secure a job after your education? Are often asked. Most of these questions tend to remind me that I am handicapped and lacking something vital and indispensable.
This is a misconception that must be rectified. The blind lady continues, I do not miss very much in life. Ambition and intellect are not controlled by sight. It is true that I felt hurt at times, but I do believe that my collective mental powers will enable me to complete my education and thus secure a job and prove that blind persons are not second-class citizens as my people think, but people possessing potentialities which can be put to use, to overcome their disability and reach their goal. This is the conviction of a learned blind lady who believes in her mental powers.
We ought therefore, to change our negative attitudes towards the disabled, remembering that the disable too are essentially human, and we all share a common patrimony. They’re people with feelings like us. The disability is an accidental one. Let us offer them an enabling environment to overcome their physical challenges. We may not have the material or financial services they require but our uncommon cares and concern in identifying with them can make them feel cool, calm, composed, comfortable, calculated and coordinated towards the actualisation of their dreams tomorrow, and perhaps make our society a better place.