The Developmentally Disabled: Born Into Negative Roles
In society, whether or not we admit it, the developmentally disabled are somewhat placed in boxes and kept away from the world. They are kept in their homes or in institutions made for them because people don’t think they belong. People think that because they are “disabled”, they cannot live the same life as everyone else. They say they are better off with those who are in the same state as them. How then are they supposed to learn what it is to be part of society when they are taken out of the picture and told to live with people who are “their kind”?
People with developmental disabilities are, since birth, cast into devalued roles. The moment a mother gives birth to her baby and it turns out to have some kind of disability, the room is in a gloomy state as opposed to a celebratory one. This is the first time the baby is introduced to the world outside the mother’s womb and the baby is born into this negative atmosphere. It demonstrates how people with disabilities are automatically assigned roles. Let’s talk about a few of the negative roles society places on the developmentally disabled.
Object of pity
Organizations around the world run charity work for developmentally disabled people, making them a subject of pity. They are the perfect objects of charity because their lives are seen as a tragedy because of their disability. Society dictates we should feel sorry for them because they are helpless when they’re actually not. It disables the opportunity for growth because people now see them as incapable and the belief is they should just stay put and wait for help to come.
Right after birth, developmentally disabled people are seen as a burden to their families and to their community. It often means having a lifetime of dependence and more needs being met by their family members and the community. People with developmental disabilities do not impose a lifetime of obligations. They can fully participate in the household and the community, just like others. Instead of focusing on what they can’t do, we should focus on what they’re good at and how they can contribute.
When society assigns this role to people with developmental disabilities, they are taking away their opportunity for growth. This creates a ceiling for how much progress they can have as a person. When society sees them as children when they are already adults, they are not given the opportunity to live like any other adult of their age. They are not allowed the chance to explore the extent of their capabilities, build meaningful relationships, develop skills, get a college degree, have a career, build a family and grow old the way they want to.
Our world views people with developmental disabilities as “sick”. A common misconception is that they are always in pain or under constant agony. Disabilities are seen as sicknesses that needs fixing or diseases that should be cured. But people with developmental disabilities are just like people without disabilities, they can sometimes be in pain or get sick. It’s not a life of sickness or an incurable disease to have a disability.
Here at 1st Choice Family Services, we know that having developmental disabilities does not equate to a tragic life. Our direct support professionals don’t see them as lesser forms of humans but rather brilliant individuals who are equally capable. They are not helpless, burdens, stuck as a child or sick. They are just like any other humans except they are not given access to the same opportunities as the non-disabled.
Our clients who have developmental disabilities are amazing humans who deserve a valued role in society. With the help of our direct support professionals who are well-equipped and have a heart to help, they create endless opportunities for them to grow and progress within their homes and the community. From helping them do daily tasks to guiding them as they play their part in the community, our direct support professionals are with them every step of the way.
If people with disabilities are not discriminated against or treated differently in society they can gain valued social roles instead of being assigned to negative ones. This allows them a better chance to develop and share their talents and skills and contribute to the community. The work our direct support professionals do paves the way for that to become a reality. With the care they give and the support they continuously provide, their clients slowly take on valued roles in their homes and the community. They become helping hands around the household and contribute to doing chores, a friend to their neighbors who can share meaningful memories and an excellent employee who gets the job done well.
In a society where people treat those with developmental disabilities differently and limit them because of their disability, our direct support professionals do the opposite and are dedicated to helping them live their lives to the fullest measure.