An Undaunted Spirit

Life does not always bestow us with opportunities we desire; we need to create them and strive relentlessly towards achieving our goals. As parents of a child with special needs, this practice becomes imperative. But not everyone has the resilience to accept the situation and handle it with grit. They may also not have the fiscal means to foster a supportive environment for a child with disabilities and these struggles are real. Their needs may fluctuate throughout their lifespan and may involve emotional, social & financial concerns.

Each diagnosis comes with different challenges and unique symptoms that require different intervention but one thing common to all, is the struggle of the family to make their child a part of the system, without any bias or discrimination.

Like all these parents, we needed a dash of hope too, to ensure that our daughter Anoushka, who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth, was not deprived of leading a normal life and that she did not succumb to societal pressure. We tried to provide her with an environment where she flourished and achieved milestones. Today she is a confident & independent individual with a strong mind of her own, making decisions in her capacity.

Unfortunately, disability is still seen as incapability and such children are often viewed as a problem to be ‘fixed,’ with focus on their disability, rather than on their abilities and potential. It takes immense courage and strength as a family to first “accept “the issue and then address it. “Inclusion” is something we as a community, are striving for and it remains a continuous struggle.

Way back in 2014, our relocation to Dubai opened doors to many opportunities for Anoushka. Al Noor Rehabilitation Centre, her current institution, has been putting well-structured efforts with specific development plan, to integrate her into the mainstream.

In Dubai, many organizations are working towards betterment of this community by fostering transformative learning and living environment and empowering people with special needs. Individualized educational plans are designed to address their specific, individual needs with focus on development, life skills and self-dependency. There are many non-profit organizations dedicated to facilitating the inclusion of People of Determination in all spheres of life to focus on self-advocacy and awareness. These organizations support the families by providing life skill training with a goal to place them in relevant fields and making them self-sufficient.

With many organizations extending support by providing opportunities, families of special ones, just need to grab those opportunities and turn adversities into accomplishments. We, as parents must put in an extra bit to ensure that they lead a fulfilling life to the extent possible.

And let’s remember – A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty ~Winston Churchill

Nisha Tandon, Dubai

Editor’s Note: There are many stories that remain untold, as parents are not comfortable sharing those and that is understandable but we request you to come forward with your tales of courage that could inspire or benefit others. You could also email us your questions or suggestions at [email protected] about any piece of information that you are seeking in this area and we would try to revert with the best of our knowledge. This would be a regular feature of the magazine to share further knowledge and information in this area.

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