“When Blake Colvin was an eight-year-old, she was diagnosed with a form of cancer and, for two-and-a-half years, she battled the disease, struggling through chemotherapy treatments, and not only questioning what her future would be like, but if she would have a future at all. Now, at age 16, she has not only beaten her cancer but has built a cupcake business dedicated to raising funds for cancer research.” – culled from www.dealathons.com.
As he plays with a mixture of sand and mud with a bowl of water by his side at his regular spot in his home front yard, all you see is a boy too playful to study. Like a mountain that won’t move, he spends his free time at this usual spot, doing the same thing over and over again – getting creative with the paste from the earth, not minding passersby. Passersby see him as a suffering little boy. Most often pity him. He can even see the pity it in their eyes as they stared down at him. Friends and family often wonder how much he is aware of; all he knows is that he is well. Though, he is very aware of much...whether those close to him are happy or sad or fearful, full of love and desire, or maybe they are just doing their duty by looking down on him. He usually marvelled at their frustration, knowing fully well that his own woes are far greater, for he cannot express himself or his needs as they do because nobody would understand what he is passing through. He is greatly alienated and alone and one cannot conceive his isolation. Most times, he is completely on his own. He suffers from a learning disability in which he can only understand and interpret shapes and pictures, but figures are a gigantic problem.
Narrated above are real-life stories of children suffering from disabilities that impede their education, learning process and growing up like other kids. Learning disabilities in kids sometimes create a constant nightmare in the life of parents and guardians alike because parents find it hard to understand the needs of such kids and how to bring the best out of them.
There are many of such children all around the world who later become fountains of knowledge and celebrities. Here are a few of such individuals according to listverse.com;
- Christy Brown suffered severe cerebral palsy, he was an Irish author, poet and painter.
- Stephen William Hawking, a British theoretical physicist, an academic celebrity, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Presidential Medal of Freedom, severely suffered from motor neuron disease.
- Helen Adams Keller, an American author, political activist and lecturer. She was a deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
- John Forbes Nash, a Nobel Laureate winner and a great American mathematician. He suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
- Jean-Do, famous French journalist, and author and editor of the French fashion magazine; Elle. He suffered a neurological disorder called Locked-in syndrome in which his whole body was paralysed except his left eyelid. He was able to write the book The Butterfly and The Diving bell by mere blinking despite is disorder.
- Ludwig Van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers in history, he was known for his unpredictable and brilliant improvisations. Struck by deafness, he was still able to churn out finest works such as the Late Quartets, Violin Concerto, the 9th Symphony, the 5th Piano Concerto among others.
- Marla Runyan was stricken with Stargardts Disease and this confirmed her blind but that doesn’t stop the three time national champion from winning four gold medals at the 1992 Paralympics. She also won silver and gold in the 1996 Paralympics, among others numerous medals.
Such children do not gift you with coherent and clever conversation, nor can they gift you petty replies that can make you laugh over and repeatedly. They seldom give you response to your regular questions, replies over their well-being, opening up about their needs, or what is happening in the world around them. And these may make them less receptive and you more distant from them. But, is that all what they are capable of? What they can offer you are so much more important... they give you endless opportunities. Opportunities to rediscover how deep your character is; the depth of your patience, love, commitment, abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. You can be driven further than you have ever gone on your own, working more assiduously than before, becoming more inquisitive to your many questions, creating more questions with little or no answers.
Our educational systems should not be confirmed as decimation tool that views children with disabilities as problems waiting to be rectified, rather, the decision makers in our education system should respond positively and equally to students with disabilities and see such as a way of improving on the learning process for all. Discrimination is bound to set in when students with disabilities are separated and this can lead to further marginalisation from the society. Equal participation of students will promote better learning systems and social integration.
As it has been proven over the years, performing great feats is an achievement any man can attain irrespective of inhibiting disability. For there’s is ability in disability, indeed.
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