A 64-year-old woman, Mrs Monica Beecham, has stated that the public needs to understand the situations of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) rather than pity them.
She said it was unfortunate that when PWDs are seen struggling with some tasks, people prefer to look on with pity instead of understanding their situations and offering help.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times on Wednesday, Mrs Beecham said the cause of their disabilities was more pathetic at health facilities and institutions where they have to do things using biometric means.
“It is sad that the impression created often is that we are not intelligent when that is not actually the case. The way some people handle us becomes an insult to our intelligence. Being disabled does not mean one is stupid,” she said.
The 64-year-old, who is visually impaired due to complications from cataract surgery, said it was time people showed more empathy instead of sympathy.
She explained that the disabled are not less of humans, but their circumstances are mostly due to a lack of the right systems and structures. These, she said, had made their predicament to be more complicated.
She said in her case, mobility remained her biggest challenge, but aside from that, she had mastered how she could do things for herself and even for others effortlessly.
“I even babysit my grandchildren sometimes. All I need is to be red alert and keep them within reach,” she explained.
She said blind people could be very useful if given the opportunities they deserve because they use their noses and ears a lot to inform the decisions they make, and they are often not wrong about it.
Mrs Beecham also advised parents to be extra vigilant to seek prompt medical attention for their children who show signs of any disability at formative stages.
She said in cases where parents do not notice that, but others point it to them, parents should not be offended but together try to do what would be best for their children.
She called on teachers to also look out for such challenges in children and help to get them the help they need on time because, according to her, such timely interventions had helped to save some children from becoming disabled.