Myths on disabilities addressed

THE Association for the Physically Challenged (APC) seeks to address the needs and improve the quality of life of people with physical disabilities in Kwa-Zulu Natal through facilitating services and projects aimed at rehabilitation, self-reliance and integration of such persons into their communities and society.

In working with people with disabilities we have come to realise that the greatest barrier is attitudes and beliefs. People in general have many mistaken beliefs about disability that prevents them from treating people with various disabilities equally. Some of these myths include:

Myth - Disability is a personal tragedy and deserves our pity.

Fact - Disability is a natural part of the human experience. People with disabilities make up a significant portion of the population within all communities, regardless of age, race, or economic status. They need our acceptance as we are all differently abled.

Myth - People with disabilities are sick and in constant pain.

Fact – Many people with disabilities lead active healthy lives. Depending on the type of disability, some people may experience pain associated with their disability or illness.

Myth - People with disabilities are dependant and always need help.

Fact - No man is an island. We all need each other at some point for something. People with disabilities can do many things on their own. Some people lead very independent lives. Others may be limited by their disability and may need help with other things.

Myth - People with disabilities should be treated differently.

Fact - According to legislation such as the Constitution of South Africa and the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, everyone should be treated equally and ensure the full enjoyment of human rights and freedoms.

Myth - Disability is punishment for something the parents have done.

Fact - Disability can be caused by illness (such as polio), medical conditions (such as hypertension leading to a stroke resulting in physical disabilities), trauma (such as being assaulted) or motor vehicle accidents. It can happen to anyone. It is not a punishment.

APC offers social work services to help people with physical disabilities and their families to cope with disability and deal with the challenges they experience. APC also offers a sheltered employment workshop for adults who cannot work in the open labour market. Income generating projects are facilitated in rural areas to teach skills and supplement the income of beneficiaries.

Education, awareness and advocacy work is also undertaken to promote the rights of people with disabilities and encourage an inclusive society.

If you would like more information on our services, would like to volunteer your time and skills or would like to donate to further the work of the association, contact us on 033 342 2768 or apcpmb1@telkomsanet.net - Supplied

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