Who can blame a parent for being protective over a disabled child? More often than not, the child is mollycoddled; all his needs are looked after, sometimes to the extent of being overwhelming and suffocating. That is the basic instincts of parents at work.
Nevertheless, parents need to understand that as the child grows up, there is a real need to allow him to take charge of his own life. How long can the parents be there to protect the child? What will happen to the child after the parents are no longer around?
We certainly cannot expect the child to suddenly grow up and fend for himself. There are skills that are required for activities of daily living and skills needed for living independently. These have to be learnt over a period of time. Those skills may be second nature to many but for one who had been protected all his life, it would be as foreign to him as Greek.
Parents who really care for the wellbeing of the disabled child, no matter how old the child is, should gradually wean him off his dependency on them. This is the best legacy that they can leave their child with.
It is only through managing his own needs that the child regains a sense of self-reliance and self-worth. That confidence will in turn empower him to take charge of his own life, be responsible for his own actions and learn to be independent.
As it is, disabled persons are faced with more challenges than they can overcome. Parents should take the initiative to encourage their child to go out and face the world instead of keeping them away from the prying eyes of the public. Sooner or later, they will have to go out and face the world anyway.
Penang Trip 2 - Day 1 - 25 August 2013
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