Sensitisation over despondency: Having a mentally disabled kid

Credit: (Image for representational purpose only)

By Sreyashi Mazumdar

New Delhi: Wading through the tumultuous reveries of life, a 28-year-old decided to give up; she couldn’t bear the pangs of her little one. Despite trying hard to put up with the situation, her trepidation scuttled her courage to face the harsh reality. Pondering upon the plausible difficulties of her child, she decided to put an end to the situation. She strangled her kid and hung herself from the fan, fending off the reality. This isn’t an isolated case in a nation like India. Even though there has been a drastic change in the field of medical science, societal sensitization is still in the nascent stage. People continue to look down upon a mentally disabled child.

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“The main problem is the lack of acceptance. Parents at times find it difficult to accept their children’s mental condition, owing to which many a time they repent their decision; decision of giving birth to a mentally disabled child. There was a time when I used to curse myself for giving birth to an autistic child,” said 45-year Bina Dutta, mother of an autistic boy.

Tears trailing down her eyes, she shared her reveries with her neighbor Priya, “I must have committed a sin in my past life, what wrong did I do.” It has been often seen that parents find it difficult to put up with the societal ostracism their kids often face owing to their mental or physical disability. Things become more complicated once the child enters his or her teenage.

“Lack of proper guidance, lack of medicinal/ educational infrastructure in India, social stigma, societal acceptance,financial burden, emotional disturbance and the implicit disparity which at times becomes quite obvious; these are some of the causes owing to which such children fail at garnering a wholesome experience, both on professional and personal level,” Dr Jyoti Rao, a psychologist and a counsellor, was quoted as saying as she dealt with mentally disabled child for a prolonged period now.

Though there are rehabilitation schools, the problem doesn’t come to an end. “Special schools are a part of rehabilitation process but to begin with as a parent or as a society acceptance is important. Empathy is the key not sympathy. So, more than infrastructure it is the mindset which needs to get overhauled,” she said.

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Financial crunch is one of the major impediments wherein mental or physical ailments lead to untoward incidents like suicides. For instance, in the year 2010, a couple killed their 18-year-old son in East Delhi as they failed to afford his medical expenses thereafter committing suicide, according to a Hindustan Times report.

” Instead of considering it as a disability the best way to deal with such kids are treating your kid as a special child. The moment you start considering your child as a special one, you tend to lay off your frustration and despondence,” said Sister Premila, a spiritual leader and counsellor.

One needs to put oneself into the shoes of people in vicinity of mentally or physically compared individuals, be it in the family or ones school or college. Both infrastructure and sensitization is needed to plummet the level of suicide cases owing to reasons related to mental disability.