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Living With Disability: The Marginalised Society

July 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 176

Disability is a condition which has no barriers despite ones' position and heights of achievements in society. This could occur as a result of certain conditions such as genetics, accident, degeneration of physiology and anatomy of human structures and organs. Disabled people are humans and they deserve fair access, treatment and respect in the community they belong to.

Disability is defined as the inability to attend ones holistic functional activities of daily living and the person relies on others to meet this end. This condition could be grouped under the following pathological properties: physical or sensory disabilities; learning disabilities and or, difficulties; dementia and mental health problems. The definition could be extend to include; the aged who are physically frail and bed ridden while all their care needs are provided by multidisciplinary teams (the medics, nurses, informal caregivers and social workers) either in their own home or in institutional settings.

Disabling conditions could be minimised, prolonged or complicated, due to improvements or poor public services as well as the complex universal welfare services in some countries. On the other hand, advances in techno-medical sciences have led to longevity of disabled people. This was unthinkable in the last century when diagnosis and prognosis of disabilities were very poor. Meanwhile, some disabled people appear to enjoy the privileges and standards of living that were available only for non-disabled people. This has been engineered through progressive political emancipation to recognise the existence of people with infirmities in society. The pressure groups as well as the Disability Alliance in the UK have intensified lobbing to all political parties seeking equal rights for disabled people.

However, if the support systems are working well to support disabled people; irrespective of their age, creed and gender, the question remains does non- disabled people understand what it is to be disabled? We have seen a number of legislation and policies such as the National Assistance Act (1948 s 29), Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970 s 1), the NHS and Community Act (1990) and Department of Health (2008) that have been enacted to support disabled people. Should we assume that these have justified "Moral Integrity" to the dilemmas of disabled people in the community?

Morals as well as the ethics in this concept can be complex, as it could possibly be argued either from the "conformist or non-conformist" ideological perspectives.The conformists would argue that supporting disabled people is a duty which the public in general should embark upon, given that a significant majority of disabled people need all the help they can muster as a means to an end. Conversely, the non-conformists would argue, expressing their views from a different standpoint, illuminating the fact that moral justification to support disabled people should be an individual acuity and cannot be imposed on others. In this frame of mind and ideological conviction, individuals cannot take over governmental duties and responsibilities in expectation that they are carrying out civic duties.

The argument highlights the personal aspect of ethics within the wider society. In hindsight we all have a personal sense of duty, of what is right to do and but choose to waive their right to exceptions such as moral conscience that most people use to excuse for not performing such duties. Most forms of utilitarianism are rigidly impersonal, treating every life as of the same value in moral assessments, and tend to underestimate the importance of personal aims and commitments. These are often overridden when the utilitarianism standard is used in reaching moral decision, and to this extent utilitarianism is seen by some as giving a less than adequate account of peoples' own priorities and sense of their own moral integrity.

In whatever cardinal point the argument may be directed, it should be noted that disabling conditions can be debilitating and can also increase the vulnerability of disabled persons. Sometimes disabled persons may look like beggars, relying on others or the welfare systems to achieving their holistic needs. Yet, how does the disabled person feel about his/her condition and equally, what are the wider societal opinions? Whatever the reason might be, the perceptions of the wider community may vary and the question is does their views supports the "Golden Rules" philosophy; which implies "Do to others what you expect to receive from them." Would these conceptual frameworks be conciliation for disabled people believing the public understands their plight therefore, they are accepted as equal in the community at large?

Moral opinions have some relevance to most scriptures and religions of the world but, the question is, are these universally tolerable to all? Answers to these may have subjective and inter-subjective properties hence people would not be compelled to abide by a defined moral obligations. However, the "Golden Rules" have set the yardstick for moral discourse to support the needy and treat all evenly and be mindful of discriminating against those who are less privileged. Living with disability has profound consequences for the lives of disabled people to fit in with peer groups, sometimes within the family, friends and the wider society. Prejudice at this level has some pathological, psychological and psychosocial implications in the person's life. This may some time lead to psychotic episodes as well as an undignified life style and uncertain future to succeed as a good citizen of the state.

Reflecting on the current economic meltdown, everything seems to be against disabled people as they have little opportunity to pursue a career of their choice because of societal bigotry and non-tolerance of social justice and diversity. Based on these beliefs, one would assume that the Equality Act and other related legislation are "White Elephant"? For example, the "Golden Rules, Bill of Rights and Humans Rights" lay down conventions and policies recognising the rights and existence of every one irrespective of their ability and effrontery to abhor discrimination and uphold common values, norms, co-habitation and equality of opportunities to all in a fair and equal society and the world at large.

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Source: EzineArticles
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