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La société et la déficience intellectuelle (Today’s Society and Intellectual Disability )

07 Nov 2013

Un article formidable sur l’utilité des personnes avec handicap mental dans la société.

A prendre le temps de lire!

La société et la déficience intellectuelle écrit par Aimé Ravel (Pédiatre et généticien)
Un des paragraphes m’a inspiré le commentaire suivant:

« Coïncidence. hier, à midi, j’évoquais devant une de mes anciennes collègues combien mon observation de la façon dont le cerveau de François fonctionnait m’avait appris de choses sur le fonctionnement du cerveau de mes élèves (surtout les 6èmes 5èmes) et avait changé mon regard sur eux.

En essayant de comprendre les capacités cognitives de mon fils, et comment l’aider, j’avais compris plein de difficultés de mes élèves.

Par exemple, pourquoi s’escrimer sur un gamin qui écrivait tout petit et tout tassé en haut de sa grande page en l’accusant de ne pas suivre les instructions données de belle présentation du travail alors que ce gamin n’avait pas la mobilité oculomotrice nécessaire pour balayer la feuille d’un regard et d’autre part et gardait son oeil fixé sur le même point et le même espace réduit ?

Autre exemple pour illustrer ces mêmes difficultés, l’utilisation des grandes feuilles utilisées pour cause de photocopies était une aberration car personne ne m’avait dit que le champ visuel latéral de l’enfant de moins de douze ans (en moyenne) était plus réduit que celui de l’adulte, ce qui a fait que quand je disais à un enfant d’observer l’illustration en bas à droite et de faire part de ses remarques, je m’étais mis à observer la direction de son regard pour voir s’il regardait bien au bon endroit comme je le faisais pour François.

J’ai d’ailleurs compris que nos anciens, pas si bêtes, exigeaient des petits cahiers jusqu’à la fin de la classe de 5ème (ce qui fut mon propre cas).Je pourrais donner des quantités d’exemples d’éléments qui ont changé mon point de vue d’enseignante. Et ma collègue m’a dit qu’elle avait remarqué à l’époque que mon attitude envers les enfants avait changé. Oui, les handicapés mentaux aident aussi à mieux comprendre ceux qui ne le sont pas. Tout le monde a sa place dans le monde! » (A.C)

 

Today’s Society and Intellectual Disability by Aimé Ravel

liberal translation by:  Charles de Broin

This is not a handicap like the others, it presents specific issues and forces us to think about ourselves and the society we wish for.

We do not need the Jews, anywhere ,wrote Hans Frank , the Governor General of occupied Poland by the Nazis in December 1941 . The implications of this statement are well known. Nothing can be compared to the Holocaust , the great  » catastrophe  » announced in Isaiah ( 10, 3 ) , but this event teaches us that when a social group orders a segment of its population useless, they are in great danger. No one knows the impact on society an attempt to save the Jews would have had if we would have all shouted loudly, something  which we owed them. In the same vain, we cannot ignore today what people with intellectual disabilities contribute in an advanced society .

How do we define in simple terms intellectual disability?  The need for support for activities requiring the normal functioning of human intelligence may be a simple answer.  This is not a handicap as others. Technological advances offer hope that many people with disabilities gain greater independence ( the blind see through artificial retinas ), but a person with intellectual disability will always need a human which no technical support can replace.

So, what do people with intellectual disabilities bring to society? Their contribution to the quality of care is obvious. They suffer from varied and complex medical problems.  However, they are often anxious or have a fragile nature which limits additional specialized testing.  The process leading to their diagnosis is based on the careful observation and a complete physical examination. They express pain differently, it must be discovered.  Many have limited to no speach. People responsible for them must be technically perfect, committed and capable of working in a multi-disiplinary team environment. This excellence benefits all concerned.  On the other hand, pactitioners who declare themselves incompetent to deal with the disabled will not inspire confidence.

Their contribution to the quality of education is obvious . Teaching people to focus when they have  limited capacity and who require longer time frames to process information requires analytical skills and imagination that can only shine on any school . This is also true of people who offer labor,transportation, catering, entertainment or accommodation to the disabled.  Those are graceful dancers who work with mentally challenged  youth, karate teachers who transmit values with passion for their art, educators who work night and day with elderly people with intellectual disabilities.

In a society where everything is fast paced and where direct personal relationships are rare, people with intellectual disabilities require those around them to listen, observe more closely and be touched. They anchor us in the relm of reality. They are eminently otherness. To be open to intellectual disabeled one must be distanced to all totalitarian thinking, be a model ofbenevolent society, preferring “lacité de l’amour de l’autre jusqu’au mépris de soi” (openessof love to your fellow man to the extent
of putting asside selfnessimportance).

Intellectually disabled people help usto know ourselves better: what is  humanintelligence ? what is folly ? what produces happiness? They ask us about manypoints of law, philosophy , theology : what worth is the testimony of a personwith intellectual disability ? can their choices be theirs? how does one guage their responsibility ? Can they perceive the inigmas or truths of religion? what is the fervor of their prayer? what will be their image in eternal life?

Finally, people with intellectual disabilities provoke a permanent call to humility , who amongst us can truly say that they are beautiful, strong and intelligent because they deserve it?  We are only responsible for our choices. The Bible compares the rich as a camel attempting to pass through the eye of a needle.  It is not just money , it also aims at the quest of power , including the one that possesses a brilliant mind .

The intellectually  disabled experience, on a daily basis, the greatest poverty that exists: not being able to understand as much and as fast as others. But society that comits to be in their service, is a source of great wealth both to them and society as a whole.

OP - Nov 2013