Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Special needs people must be made to feel they are part of community

Special needs people must be made to feel they are part of community
By Nada S. Mussallam (Our staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 11 March 2008

ABU DHABI - The most important thing to rehabilitate people with special needs is to make them feel that they are part of the community, said Sir John Major, former British prime minister.

“It is very, very important that we should focus on making people with disabilities know that they are a part of the community and they are not different because they have a disability.

“They have the same instinct, the same souls like the rest of us and we should bring them into the society and not lock them out from the society,” said Sir John who is on a visit to the country to participate in a special needs conference.

The third Abu Dhabi International Conference for Special Needs will kick off today at the Armed Forces Club.

Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, he stressed: “People who have disabilities are exactly the same as the rest of us except that they have these disabilities. They are entitled to a good life as far as they could have one as anybody else.”

Sir John’s statement came shortly after ending a tour of Abu Dhabi Rehab Care Centre for Special Needs’s premises in the Mafraq region, which is an affiliate of Zayed Organisation for Humanitarian Care, Special Needs and Minor Affairs.

He praised the Centre by saying: “It is one of the most comprehensive centres I have ever seen and the facilities are of very high grade. It is wonderful to see such facilities brought together.

“This remarkable facility, I believe, would encourage disabled to become part of the community at large.”

What is wonderful about the Centre is that it has sports facilities, which are not available in most rehabilitation centres in the world, he said.

Sir John is well known for his contributions in the field of rehabilitation of people who are physically and mentally challenged in the UK.

About his opinion regarding the role of volunteers in rehabilitation of the disabled, he said: “In the UK the voluntary role is very important in supporting programmes dedicated to disabled. Volunteers can greatly help in this respect.”

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