A deeper understanding of disability is rooted in the home

By Rosemary Roscoe

Happy New Year everyone and a warm welcome to the hundreds of new followers who joined this blog in 2020.

The founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung once stated that “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”. The home, as we have experienced from months of lockdown due to Covid, is pivotal in our understanding of ourselves and others. All the prejudices of our understanding, especially when it comes to disabilities, are gleaned from the home. And those prejudices are reinforced, for example, by television dramas such as ITV’s Emmerdale Farm, which recently featured a couple expecting a baby with Down’s syndrome, portraying the baby as a lesser human being in some way. But parents, relatives, friends and those who work with people with Down’s syndrome follow a very different storyline.

They know that a child with Down’s has as much to give and gain from the world as any other child, if not more, and nurtured with love and understanding will grow into a well-adjusted, fulfilled adult. I speak from personal experience, as just over a year ago our youngest grandchild was diagnosed at birth as having Down’s Syndrome. She is an absolute delight, full of smiles and mischief, babbling away and gazing into your eyes. Despite the weak muscle tone she was born with, it hasn’t held her development back, as she is constantly crawling and walking around the furniture and pulling books off the bookcase to open the pages and look at the pictures.

She enjoys the attention of her young cousins and loves tipping up her toy boxes and discovering her favourite noisy toys, then confidently climbing onto your lap with a beaming smile, urging you to play with her. Next minute she’s slipping down from your lap and grasping your hands, walking determinedly around the room, then flopping down when we reach her intended destination. So determined is she to explore that recently her mum had to catch her by the feet to stop her diving headfirst down the stairs, so eager was she to go outside! She is such a joy and you can tell from the adoring looks from Mum and Dad that they wouldn’t have wanted her to be any different to her charming and loveable self.

We need to reassess our inbuilt biases against disabilities, and there is no better place to start than in the home. Many are suffering from post-covid stresses of one kind of another, caused either by contracting the virus or by the unprecedented upheavals in our home lives and work routines, all of which were beyond our control. Hopefully, these experiences have changed our perceptions of others who might seem different to us and lifted the cloud of ill-informed prejudices. If you have experiences and insights into caring for people with disabilities in the home, of any age, we would love you to share them with us.

Please send it to info@homerenaissancefoundation.org We will contact you to discuss any material you send us that is chosen for publication on our website.

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