Awareness creation,  Disability and Culture,  Disability Stereotypes

African Culture and Disability, Experiences of People with Disabilities: Part Ten.

The level to which culture plays a role in the way people understand disability seems to be rooted in the way each individual person in question has exposure to people with different types of disabilities. The amount of time and the immediacy of the contact between the person and the person with disability are as well critical factors in the type of attitude that is developed by the children which in turn informs how they deal and relate with the disabled as adults. Disability Awareness in Action has an approach that that, face to face interactions would have a positive effect on the attitudes of one social group for another, in this case the people without disabilities and the people with disabilities. It is also suggested that this was evidence of a form of cognitive mechanism underpinning the cultural construction of the individual or even the medical model of disability. However, in some instances, as maturation occurs, cognitive growth seems to open the individual to learning about alternative explanations and views of disability hence impacting on the attitude shown to the disabled in the society. This is where real-life encounters with people who have disabilities and cultural transmission of understanding attain relevance.

However, there is need to take measures to address the specific nature of harmful beliefs and practices towards persons with disabilities, these measures include but are not limited to; empowering persons with disabilities, developing community based sensitization and education campaigns,  implementing school-based disability rights awareness programmes, strengthening documentation and reporting on human rights violations against persons with disabilities that are rooted in stigma and customary beliefs, undertaking law and policy reform efforts to combat stigma.

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