By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
People with disabilities have appealed to the society not to see their disability as reasons not to treat them fairly and equally like other humans.
The appeal was made by Mr Okoroafor Gideon, President of Nigerian Universities Deaf Students”Association in Calabar.
He said most times, disabilities and handicap conditions are treated with disdain and seen as taboo, social menace which culminates in segregation of those affected.
Okoroafor who was speaking when students students of the Department of Special Education, University of Calabar held an awareness programme on the plight of those with disabilities stressed the need for the public to identify and harness the potentials inherent in most persons with disabilities
“We have doctors, engineers, media practitioners, lawyers and practitioners of other noble professionals who have disabilities and they often distinguished themselves. Therefore persons with disabilities should not be sympathised or stigmatised, but treated with empathy and given room to explore their environment like their non disabled peers”.
He called for inclusive education where both disabled and non disabled receive the same education under the same condition to give them that sense of belonging that they too are human.
“The classrooms should be made disability friendly by being built and equipped with facilities which can make those with disabilities function optimally and those with walking impairment able to access the classroom”.
Also speaking Dr. Florence Nanguan, the Head of the Department called for the introduction of sign language in all sections of education beginning from primary to tertiary in order to inculcate the ability to communicate in the language in everybody to afford easy interaction with the deaf and dumb when the need arises.
She said most deaf and dumb persons are forced to move around with interpreters because many people do not understand the sign language.
” In the markets most women cannot read or write and so those with speaking and hearing disabilities have to go with interpreters but if sign language is within everybody’s reach communication will be easy”.
Dr Nungan advised those with disabilities not to be intimidated by their circumstances but face the world with boldness, confidence and determination to succeed.