Saturday, 7 September 2013

A must-see for all our educators, decision-makers regarding PwD,...

I recently saw the most stimulating and eye-opening video which, I am convinced is something that should be shown to all school teachers, as well as ministers and secretaries in our government who are supposed to represent the interests of people with disabilities (PwD). This short video, less than 8 minutes long, has so many lessons to convey, hence the tall claims made above. Unfortunately this video does not seem to have a usable link, and seems to be view-able only on facebook.

This video is about the life that was fashioned for himself, with the help of fantastic parents, by this son born to a black couple in a small town in South Carolina. Most people would think the child was already dealt a not very favourable set of circumstances to live in. In addition, this child was born without arms! 

An aside: I have not been politically correct, in using `black' as against `African-American', which seems to be the currently accepted term. I should imagine a people with such a wonderful colour, complexion and culture would want to proudly flaunt the use of the adjective `black'!

The atitude of the parents is absolutely enlightened and awesome. They see their beautiful child and swear that he will have the life of a perfectly normal child, `just like any other kid'. And enabling this to happen involves thinling `out of the box'  to create ad-hoc solutions to innumerable situations – like making it possible for the kid to open and use the refrigerator or microwave, using a spoon to eat, all by himself without needing anybody's help – and endowing the child with the grit, desire and determination to master the manoeuvers necessary to be independent.

The video goes on to show how he fashions a bicycle that he can ride. The highpoint of the video is when it comes to his desire to drive a car. His `I will brook no silly objection' attitude is never clearer than when he describes how people tell him to take a bus and his response clearly implies `why should I? I want to drive.' He puts on the helmet with visor, crawls under the car and operates a blow torch with his feet to make the necessary amendments to the car.

And then you see him driving his car (after using his chin to open the car, his mouth to put on his safety belt, and his feet to start the car) using his feet on specially crafted discs to steer the car. As he drives, you hear him say "people said `you can't live by yourself', `you can't go to school and graduate',  `you can't get a job and support yourself' "; and he goes on to say `I don't really listen too much to people when they say I can't do something; there's not a whole lot that is going to stand in my way'. When he gets to his work-place, where he has been working for more than eight years as an engineer with a crack Nasscar racing team, you see him removing his shoes so that his feet are free to manipulate the mouse and keyboard of the computer. (His boss says he knew when he saw his dossier that he wanted to hire Richard Parker; he admits he was initially curious about how Richard would manage, and later says matter-of-fact-ly that some people write with their right hand, others with their left hand, and Richard with his feet.)

What will it take to get our people to realise the importance of enabling such obviously very talented and determined people to achieve their potential? The mindset that is aware of the importance of not being fatalistic, and creating an environment which will not hinder and handicap people! Whatever negative things people may say about America, I can think of no other country where such a story could have been witnessed. 


  1. I agree about showing it to educators. I lauded the parents for the confidence and optimism they instilled in Parker but teachers can play an equally important role. Keep the positivity going!

    PS: You missed the link here :)

  2. I did not initially give the link because it seemed to me that you can view this link only if you are a member of facebook; and that is why I said in words what one sees in the video! But having been corrected by you, I thought I should perhaps give the link, which I now have!