The Jamaican disabled community, continues to be under provided for as at July 6 -2013.
Sad. Depressing. Hope crushing.
It’s pretty great when the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) get together and research and investigate the trials and tribulations that affect the world’s disabled. But what do we do after we have the ideas and proof and the documents?
As someone who lives with the evils of disability – noting much is happening here JA – that is.
So… back to that aforementioned Report, this is really a summary of the actual report – a document called, “World Report on Disability”.
The Report is a joint effort of the World Bank and the World Health Organization, as well as the first ever such document to be presented by these two noble entities.
In it is written that crucial among the ways to help the disabled of all kinds, includes “strengthening and supporting research on disability”.
Research on disability, with a view to improving the lives of Jamaica’s disabled is an area where we as nation woefully lack will or true impactful movement.
Remember folks my son Quinn Garren James Smith is Autistic, so I am speaking from experience. He did well at his GSAT exam. He took the Jamaican high school entrance test was placed in a school, for which hundreds of children in Jamaica passed, when I called by phone to pick up his package for that school and asked if they catered to disabled children, I was told no.
What should I do? What should Quinn do? He is 13. He was diagnosed with Autism at age three, ten years later not enough has happened in Jamaica to give him a fair chance.
Autism is : Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.
Moving on, the World Report on Disability copyrighted 2011 – says “research is essential for increasing public understanding about disability issues, informing disability policy and programmes, and efficiently allocating resources.”
Here I want to qualify to say research in a vacuum doesn’t help anyone, but research with findings that are implemented, will help change the way the nation state Jamaica is set up for the disabled is something tangible we can do.
The document continues, “this Report recommends areas for research on disability including the impact of environmental factors (policies, physical environment, attitudes) on disability and how to measure it; the quality of life and well-being of people with disabilities; what works in overcoming barriers in different contexts; and the effectiveness and outcomes and services and programmes for persons with disabilities”.
It goes on, “a critical mass of trained researchers on disability needs to be built. Research skills should be strengthened in a range of disciplines, including epidemiology, disability studies, health, rehabilitation, special education, economics, sociology and public policy.
“International learning and research opportunities, linking universities in developing countries with those in high-income and middle-income countries, can also be useful”.
In the Report it says:
United Nations agencies and development organizations can:
• Include disability in development aid programmes, using the twin track approach.
• Exchange information and coordinate actions to agree on priorities for initiatives, to learn lessons and to reduce duplication of effort,
• Provide technical assistance to countries to build capacity and strengthen existing policies, systems and services, for example by sharing good and promising practices.
• Contribute to the development of internationally comparable research methodologies
• Regularly include relevant disability data into statistical publications.
The Private Sector can:
• Facilitate employment of persons with disabilities ensuring that recruitment is equitable, that reasonable accommodations are provided, and that employees who become disabled are supported to return to work.
• Remove barriers of access to microfinance, so that persons with disabilities can develop their own businesses
• Develop a range of quality support services for persons with disabilities and their families at different stages of the life cycle.
• Ensure that construction projects, such as public accommodations, offices and housing include adequate access for persons with disabilities
• Ensure that information and communication technology products, systems and services are accessible to persons with disabilities.
Maia Chung is a Cabinet appointed member of the National Advisory Board for Persons with Disability which advises The Minister of Labour and Social Security in Jamaica. She is also chairman of the Public Education Sub-Committee of that board. Information for “The Challenged Chronicles” was taken from the first ever World Report on Disability a collaboration of the World Health Organisation and the World Bank.
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