Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Opposite extremes of the spectrum

To help place our own woes in perspective, here is the link to a CNN report with accompanying videos.

I cried while I watched this on TV today. Perhaps one day our activism will benefit third world countries like Kenya too. Admittedly, the fact that the Kenyan government is a dictatorship doesn't bode well for the future of this silent and suppressed segment of the population - the mentally ill and the cognitively impaired.

Distressing though this report is, please try to watch it entirely. It will propel us to redouble our efforts to combat apathy towards our children.

I was particularly moved by the mothers of Joseph and Kennedy profiled in the CNN report. Impoverished and alone, bereft of governmental or charitable assistance, they care for their profoundly disabled sons with unstinting devotion, sacrifice and love.

They put to shame those parents in my country who have dumped their disabled children in institutions. Just to care for those children at night and on weekends, when their special education schools are closed, was an excessive burden for them. I know such parents personally and find their selfishness incomprehensible.

Not many share this view of the issue. Certainly not my government or medical professionals, who still urge parents of the profoundly disabled to institutionalize them.

And now, something to help lift your spirits: an article about a happily married Down Syndrome couple living in Israel. It's called Down but not out.
A special-needs couple adjusts to marriage as this year brought disheartening news regarding equality for those with disabilities.
Read the whole piece here.

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