Disabilities are a common occurrence in the society and affect millions of people in the world including women. Nicole Small is an example of such a woman whose experience with spina bifida myelomeningocele forms the discussion of this journal. Spina bifida refers to the splitting of an individual’s spine resulting from the failure of the spinal column to close completely when a baby is still in the womb. Myelomeningocele is severe conditions and is characterized by the exposure of a part of the nerves and the spinal cord in the back of a baby (Kirpalani, Parkin and Willan 296). In addition, children with this condition tend to face a buildup of fluid in their brains; a condition termed as hydrocephalus.
As a matter of fact, Small asserts that growing with spina bifida is an arduous task that poses a variety of challenges to the children affected. The onset of the disability is a major hindrance to the development of the concerned children with most of them falling behind their peers. The early life of affected children is typified by an assortment of surgeries; thus, the patients spend a considerable part of their lives in and out of hospitals. It is not surprising therefore, that children with the disability tend to perform poorly in school. Moreover, children with disabilities such as spina bifida are normally bullied by other children who consider them to be different.
It is important to note that the life of Nicole Small was difficult because of the discrimination she faced. Nevertheless, she rose above these challenges by focusing on her strengths and perceiving her purpose in life differently. Nicole Small argues that the barriers faced by people with disabilities can be overcome through education. The general public should be taught on how to relate with people with diversities of disabilities. This is the most effective method of doing away with the existing stereotypes regarding people with disabilities; thus, making them more comfortable in the society.
It is paramount to note that early treatment of disabilities can expose the children with adverse conditions to efficient tools to help them live normal lives. According to Nicole Small, children with disabilities should interact with those without in a bid to understand their purposes in life and to overcome any identifiable barriers (An Interview Nicole Small 2). Further, children with disabilities should be encouraged to accept their status and supported in their various endeavors in life.
It is evident from Nicole Small’s experience that discrimination is commonplace in daily lives of persons with disabilities. Nonetheless, she chooses to construe the discrimination surrounding her differently. In school, Small faced bullying from children that never understood her situation. Most of Nicole’s classmates neither cared to know her personally nor learn her story. This scenario is an example to the stereotypes prevalent in the society where people do not want to be linked to individuals with disabilities.
Each and every day, children with disabilities are born. Still, others acquire different disabilities resulting from the natural process of selection. Evidently, people are prone to disability whether willingly or unwillingly. In spite of this, the onset of disability is not the beginning of inability on the part of the affected persons. Nichole Small contends that people with disabilities must endeavor to rise above the obstacles and challenges prevalent in their lives. However, she adds that in order to attain this status, the world must support them by embracing their uniqueness and understanding their situation.
Kirpalani, Haresh M., et al. “Quality of life in spina bifida: importance of parental hope.” Archives of disease in childhood 83.4 (2000): 293-297.
Reading Materials: “An Interview with a Woman Living with a Disability: Nicole Small.”
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