We know these are strange times and it is becoming difficult for a lot of people to get by. A lot of people are feeling isolated because they’re stuck at home, they’re not able to go out, they miss driving to work, meeting their friends and going out with them; but did you know that most people with intellectual disabilities have lived this way all their lives.
Nothing has changed for them. If anything, it has gotten worse. Self-quarantine has become the only solution to limit the spread of the coronavirus. If this time feels difficult for you, imagine how challenging it is for people who’ve had minimum human interaction and limited opportunities, to begin with.
Here’s a glimpse of what a normal life of a person with an intellectual disability looks like:
Growing up, Florence faced a lot of bullying at school. Not only was she bullied verbally, once a classmate, whom she thought was her friend, threw her bag in the drain which left her heartbroken and scared. This is not how most of us remember our childhood, but this childhood memory is Florence’s normal.
Shrey did not speak until he was 7. “People called me pagal (lunatic in Hindi).” Some acquaintances told his mum to place him in a hospital for people with mental disorders. There were times when even his father questioned why his mother was doing so much for him. He felt all the more isolated when his relatives stopped inviting their family for parties and gatherings.
Ben was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of 17. Once, he was brutally attacked by a gang of students who ended up breaking his nose. In the car on the way to the hospital, Ben remembers telling his mum, “The kids are right, I’m nothing but a piece of shit. And I deserve everything.” To which she responded, “Nobody on this earth deserves the treatment you have received. But we will fix it from now on.”
Over the last few months you have learnt what it feels like to be isolated & helpless; you now know how so many people with intellectual disabilities have always felt. This is not a call for help, it is an appeal. By spreading the word about #MyNormal and coming forward to donate whatever you can, you will help change the lives of thousands who really need your support.
Help change #MyNormal
If you’re in Singapore, donate here
If you’re living outside of Singapore, donate here