Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Ordinary People with Disabilities Deserve Attention, Not Just ‘the Stars,’ Lunyev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 29 -- All too often Russians pay attention to people with disabilities only if they can perform some remarkable feat like writing with their feet or performing like swimming champions or think about them at all either with pity or fear when such people are isolated in ways that resemble concentration camps, Igor Lunyev says.

            Not only is that attitude wrong – people with disabilities deserve to be treated with respect even if they do not display on first glance such remarkable abilities as “the stars” – but it has become an addition obstacle to the inclusion of such people  as people in the broader community (rosbalt.ru/piter/2021/12/01/1933389.html).

            “Real inclusion,” the journalist says, “is not a form of entertainment;” and acting as if it were carries with it the paradoxical problem that “as long as we look for talents, we lose talents because we do not turn attention on those who are not in a position to immediately show their talents to us.”

            But, Lunyev continues, “this is a problem at the margins. The main one is that inclusion is not for the special but for everyone. A person with invalid qualities is a full member of society even if society cannot see this” and such people should be respected “not because among them are geniuses but simply because they are people.”

            “In general education schools, resource classes for children with mental differences are needed not because among them may be someone who will attract attention but because every child and his or her parents must have a choice as to where and how he or she will receive an education,” Lunyev argues.

            “If someone without hands learns to play the guitar with his feet, then, this is something heroic; but if he doesn’t, that fact must not negatively affect the quality of his existence.” And those “who seriously are involved with helping people with disabilities do not seek talents and don’t assume the role of an impresario.”

            Seeking and finding talents is something interesting, the journalist acknowledges, “but it is still more interesting to search for and find not talents but a means of communications. Then talents too will appear, although often not those required in show business.” Understanding that is a prerequisite for a just and humane society

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