In regards to the article about the Disability and Community Studie program being dropped at RDC.
I am a second-year student in the Disability and Community Studies Program (DACS) and this Friday I received my diploma from RDC.
I was sad to hear of RDC’s decision to discontinue the program and I think it is going to have a tremendous impact on how people with disabilities are going to be treated in the future.
There is a need for trained people in this field. I may only have four years experience working in the disability field, and receiving my diploma this Friday, but I have seen how great the need really is for skilled people.
I agree with what your article says about the rate of pay for people in this field and how it is a major reason why enrolment is so low. It probably would be true if the pay was higher, enrolment would go up, but would that mean the quality of care for people who need it would also increase?
Sure, workers would be skilled and have knowledge about the different disabilities and how to handle certain behaviours that exist in this field. However it still takes a special kind of person to show the care, compassion, and empathy it takes to truly make a difference in someone’s life.
We have no idea what it was and is like to grow up with a disability. Things have improved from the way it used to be when a person with a disability was locked up and hidden from society, but throwing money at a situation won’t solve the problem.
There is a deeper issue for the reason behind the drop in enrolment: We have lost our sense of community.
People are too busy and in a hurry to see the people who are being forgotten and left behind. The stigma is still there, people with disabilities are seen to be a burden and can’t contribute to society. This I have found in my four years is totally false.
I cant say I have had a 100 per cent success rate with the people I have worked with but I have met more people than not who truly care and want to be a part of their community. All they need is to be seen for their skills and not their disability.
I’m reminded of a book I read in my Social Concepts and perspectives class titled Me to We written by Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger. This book sets out a philosophy that sees the need to change our thinking from a Me society to a We society.
There is a story they share about when they were in a village in Ecuador helping building a school. Because of harvest season and the roads being jammed with carts and donkeys they were having trouble getting the supplies needed to finish on time before they went back home. They went to the chief of the tribe, who was a woman, and told her of their dilemma. She simply told them not to worry.
She went to her window and yelled out: “Tomorrow there will be a Minga.” She then told the two brothers to go back to their hut. When morning came people from all over dropped what they were doing, even though they had crops to harvest and sell, and helped finish the school.
Just imagine if something like this was possible here. There would be no need for people in the disability field, but this should be our ultimate goal if we want to live in a healthy and productive society.
It is sad that the DACS program is gone but I say to all of the people graduating and the ones who will receive their diploma next year to share their knowledge with everyone they meet.
Our job is now more than just helping people with disabilities but also to educate others who will be working in this field, and also society. We have to look out for each other and work as a community and not just let people fall between the cracks.