A Diwali Wish

Every child should be given the chance to grab life and the many opportunities available. However for many of us we have huge mountains to climb with our disabled children as we face continuous barriers and have endless challenges on clearing a path for our disabled child to belong in society, to belong in our communities, to be valued so they can live a full life and enjoy friendships, have a social life, a job, go to college, have their dreams and aspirations supported.

I meet so many families of disabled children and those whose children are now young adults struggling to stay optimistic about their child’s future, holding on to hope and their faith.

I promised my son Callum the world would become more understanding and accept disabilities. However in our own communities there is still an uncaring attitude due to a lack of disability awareness and a lack of real empathy to make real changes. Many disabled children and families in our communities have shared with me how negative their community can be towards them and their disabled child. There have been times when I have experienced the ignorance of the community as people stare at Callum, comment how it must be our karma! Furthermore commenting on how hard it must be looking after Callum and giving us pitiful glances. It is hard for them to understand this might not be part of their normal life but it is part of
ours just our ‘normal’ is different and full of adventure. For instance the meticulous preparations we consider to do everyday things go shopping, days out and the priceless beautiful moments as Callum jumps up in glee, expressing his contentment through his huge smiles, hugs, clapping hands and becoming excitably vocal. When he is vocal and expressing his joy, we smile as I always say it’s Callum’s way of saying ‘Hey everybody I am here’, especially when we go out to eat.

Our disabled children grow into disabled adults and many families face having their grown child at home without any real support and this impacts on the whole family causing isolation and so much stress.

This can be made so much easier if we all started talking about disability and developing local support systems for all families of disabled children and young people. I share Callum’s journey to help increase awareness and to be honest I too am anxious about the future, as his needs continue to grow. I always try to stay optimistic and I love my son Callum so dearly I want him to not be invisible, I want him to live a full life of adventures, friendships and I want this for every disabled child, young person and their families. We cannot do this in isolation we need you all to support this to happen.

My plea is to please join us and become part of the change to create a disability friendly society. Be a ripple for change so we can be united and send the ripples far and wide.

In a time of many festivities, particularly where the Asian community celebrate ‘Festival of Light’ if you are celebrating please light a diva and pledge to become part of the change to increase disability awareness and understanding.

It would be great if you can share with us how many families with disabled children you see at your local Mandir or Gurdwara and please go over and say hello.

Our Diwali Wish is to try to ensure every disabled child’s light can shine brightly and they should not be denied opportunities and choices because of their disability. They have dreams and goals please share this and help us to shine a positive light regarding disability breaking down the stigmas and barriers together as a community, as a society. Please share our Diwali wish so we can ensure a brighter future of possibilities for disabled children and their families.

Wishing all families a Happy Diwali full of blessings – Parmi Dheensa