If we are to understand what true rehabilitation is, we must begin by understanding the substantive difference between the word “disabled” and the word “handicapped.” It is my contention that blindness, deafness, or paraplegia, for example, are personal characteristics, just like being black, young, female, Colombian, Jewish, Spanish-speaking, college-educated, etc. Each of these personal characteristics necessarily describes only one facet of one’s individuality.
Actually, every one of our personal characteristics–physical, mental, or otherwise–can be either a limitation, or an advantage, or be of no consequence whatsoever, depending on what specific objective we are trying to achieve, at any particular time. So, for example, blindness may preclude a blind person from looking at the stars but not preclude him from studying the theory of astronomy; similarly, being male may preclude a man from giving birth to a child, but not preclude him from raising that child. The real handicap confronting the disabled arises when myths, misconceptions, and negative attitudes, including both the public’s and those of the disabled themselves, restrict their opportunities and stunt their motivation far beyond the relatively narrow limitations imposed by their disabilities.
If the real handicap facing people with disabilities is the tendency to assume that if one is disabled, one is necessarily helpless, dependent, and capable of equal productivity; then it follows logically that the first and primary goal of rehabilitation is to help the client de-condition his mindset and rid himself of any negative notions, self-doubts, insecurities, or lack of motivation which may be associated with the presence of the disability. We really need to work over the mindsets to develop a better and friendly world for the persons with disabilities, where they can be get themselves acknowledged and can get opportunities of rehabilitations
By: Muhammad Afzal Uddin (Editor)