It is one thing to live with disability; it is another thing to be alone. People who are disabled and staying alone do face a lot of challenges. There are physical challenges like accessing buildings that are not disability friendly and attitude challenges.
People with disabilities encounter many different forms of attitudinal barriers.
People feel sorry for the person with a disability, which tends to lead to patronizing attitudes. People with disabilities generally don’t want pity and charity, just equal opportunity to earn their own way and live independently.
People consider someone with a disability who lives independently or pursues a profession to be brave or “special” for overcoming a disability. But most people with disabilities do not want accolades for performing day-to-day tasks. The disability is there; the individual has simply learned to adapt by using his or her skills and knowledge, just as everybody adapts to being tall, short, strong, fast, easy-going, bald, blonde, etc.
People with disabilities are often dismissed as incapable of accomplishing a task without the opportunity to display their skills. In fact, people with quadriplegia can drive cars and have children. People who are blind can tell time on a watch and visit museums. People who are deaf can play baseball and enjoy music. People with developmental disabilities can be creative and maintain strong work ethics.
For those who are blind, mobility in the streets is a great challenge. Most of them need someone to help move around.
People with complete blindness or low vision often have a difficult time self-navigating outside well-known environments. In fact, physical movement is one of the biggest challenges for blind people, explains World Access for the Blind. Traveling or simply walking down a crowded street may pose great difficulty. Because of this, many people with low vision will bring a sighted friend or family member to help navigate unknown environments.
When it comes to mobility, technology is progressing in ways that people who are physically challenged can move around without any limitation. Very few people who live with disabilities are able to use public transport.
Technology in locomotion and mobility for the disabled has progressed worldwide, but India continues to use antiquated tricycles and wheelchairs as mobility devices.
Thirty-two-year-old Usman, who works for a company manufacturing aids and appliances for the disabled in Bangalore, says he has never boarded a bus or train. “Even though people are willing to help you, it is still nearly impossible to use public transport here.”
“Only 15% of the loco motor disabled in India are able to use public transport”
Nineteen-year-old Hanumantha says he has an arrangement with a colleague to drop him home every evening. In return Hanumantha buys him a ticket to the movies once a fortnight. “My father brings me to office everyday, carries me and sits me down,” he says.
Only about 15% of the loco motor disabled in India are able to use public transport, as compared to over 65% of disabled populations in developed countries. The rest struggle to commute daily – or are immobilised.