Guys, we need to sort this out.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently conducted a research in Malaysia
to study people’s behaviour towards children with mental disabilities.
And the results were not very nice.
The study titled ‘Childhood Disability in Malaysia: A Study of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices’
revealed that people were less accepting towards children with any form of mental, behavioural and intellectual disability
as opposed to a child with a physical disability, as reported by Malay Mail
UNICEF conducted a survey among a group of people and found that they were more accepting towards living in the same neighbourhood as a child with disabilities, if the disability was physical
A total of 97.4 per cent of them reportedly said that it was acceptable if the child had physical disabilities, than if the child had behavioural disabilities (72 per cent) or mental disabilities (57.8 per cent).
People were also more comfortable with their child making friends or having romantic relationships with someone with a disability that is not mental or behavioural
In this case, 96.5 per cent of survey participants reportedly said it was acceptable for their child to be best friends with a child with physical disabilities, compared to a child with behavioural disabilities (53.1 per cent) or mental disabilities (39.2 per cent).
According to the study, there were cases reported by caregivers and service providers in this line that children with behavioural disabilities were perceived to be “badly behaved”
Some children with mental disabilities were even mocked and called “crazy”, “stupid” or “clowns”
In general, people were reportedly more responsive and accepting when they could identify that a child had a disability rather than a disability they could not understand.
The study also observed that children with physical disabilities were more likely to have friends and develop more positive relationships as opposed to children with other types of disability.
“It was clear that in mainstream schools, many students did not associate with their disabled peers or include them in activities because they were fearful ‘that they will be taunted for playing with the cacat
’,” the study recorded.
We really need to put a stop towards this stigma and discrimination against children, or even people in general, with any form of disability because it will just continue creating barriers in society.
They may be different, but they deserve our respect just like any other human.
The UNICEF study was conducted between January and September 2016 in Selangor, Kelantan, Sabah and Sarawak.