04 february, 2013
Double standards exist as before
Author: Diana Gurtskaya, no comments
No doubt, we all would like to have our society more active in defending people with limited abilities, but we must be objective in our evaluation of the situation. In the recent time, many things have improved. Earlier, handicapped people just could not get out of their apartments which, in practice, would turn into a reservation to them, a place of imprisonment. Even public discussions on the matter were prohibited; no one even would know the word “inclusion.” Studying in Tbilisi at a boarding school for blind and visually impaired children I had no idea of the inclusive education opening access to knowledge to people with special needs.
Each person is capable of thinking and feeling; has the right to study, communicate with and be heard by other people. To do this, we need special methodic instructions and pedagogues ready to counter discriminative views and create favorable atmosphere in classrooms where healthy students would study together with their coevals with limited physical abilities. And parents should not be afraid letting their children go to schools, confident that nobody would humiliate or insult them, would not cast a contemptuous phrase “Why should I sit next to a handicapped person?”
I was lucky in a sense. I never felt myself anything special, different from other people. On the contrary, my family always tried to assure me that I am no different from my older brothers and the sister. They would not over protect me; would not pool foot if I fell down, but would say, “Nothing awful, Diana. Get up. With these words I would stand up and go on. As you can see, I am still going.
Everything is interconnected in our life; it is important how people with limited abilities feel themselves and how present themselves to people around them. In the West, the star status of Steve Wonder or Andrea Bocelli is an ordinary thing. Nobody would make any allowances because they are visually impaired; they are treated as outstanding performers. And I, a Distinguished Artist of Russia, an accomplished professional, still have to prove that I am doing my job no worse than my colleagues. Why is it so? I do not know…
The full version of the interview could be found in the Itogi magazine.
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