A specially challenged child is a common term used to describe both mentally or physically disabled children. Physically challenged individuals are those who suffer from various deformities like lack of eyesight, deafness, not being able to speak, absence of hand, legs or fingers/toes. Depending on the severity these people experience several difficulties in life. Mentally challenged individuals on other hand can be physically deformed also, but not always. They generally lack intellectual potential and mental capacities as compared to their peers. Based on the IQ level they are categorised as follows-
|Borderline cases||70 – 84|
|Mild cases(educable)||55 – 69|
|Moderate cases(trainable)||40 – 54|
|Severely deficient||25 – 39|
|Highly severe||below 25|
Borderline or mild cases are slow learners; though most of them can be educated and can live an independent life. However severely deficient and highly severe are not trainable and in most cases require lifelong care.
Any kind of disability can be quite frustrating to the individual and related people, mainly parents.
Individuals who are physically challenged sometimes find it difficult to lead a normal life. Being blind or deaf makes it difficult to travel, reduces learning opportunities and career options. Though various hearing aids, speaking techniques, artificial arms and legs are available these days, they cannot compensate as much. Hence such individuals need lot of love and support from families and friends. Involving these people, avoiding derogatory comments and gestures, making them feel equal is something we can easily do without spending anything. Apart from helping them in achieving their goals with our physical presence and help, it is also necessary we give them mental strength. It is said, if you are deficient in one thing, nature sharpens your skills. We should help such individuals understand their potential and strive toward it. It is essential to make them independent and confident.
Mental retardation is much more challenging as there are very few things we can do to increase the mental ability. In mild and moderate cases, the kids can be slow learners. It is very essential that teachers, parents and peers behave patiently with these kids. They may have difficulty in learning but are capable; hence with support and affection they can achieve great milestones. In some children academic learning is not possible like those in moderate cases, but they can be trained. Basic training to live a better day to day life and some professional training to be financially independent can help a lot. In such cases also, families and supporters should handle the individuals with love and help them learn things according to their pace. Individuals with very low IQ cannot learn professional and basic things; however it is inhumane to ill-treat them. They do deserve our love and time. As a parent or friend we need to understand that our support and affection is much needed for them, that it probably only thing they long for.
Whatever might be the deformity, all kids long for love and tenderness. Language of love is understood by all.