I work in the clinical research industry and most of my work centers around the genetic aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders.
Getting to understand the science and pathophysiology of these disorders have been a humbling experience for me.
As a result of my work, I now have significantly more knowledge than most of the general population, and understand the scientific and genetic basis of several disorders.
These include Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Fragile X Syndrome, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, Rett Syndrome, and a host of other disorders that are not generally familiar with the rest of the population.
Every opportunity I get to interact with the parents and caregivers of these incredible citizens reemphasizes for me, what loving someone else truly means.
I see the love, devotion, and admiration splayed across the faces of these brave caregivers for their wards, and in being around such people, you can never afford to feel anything else but love and pure admiration.
These caregivers are parents, family members or other well-meaning citizens of the public, who patiently provide care for this population of people who otherwise may not be able to help themselves.
Therefore, it is very disheartening to learn that in some parts, people living with disabilities are still stigmatized, maligned and even discriminated against.
This practice, apart from being awful, is actually wrong. Because people living with disabilities in most cases had no say in how they became that way.
In many of these individuals, genetics had a greater role to play, rather than their own innate abilities- physical, mental, social or otherwise.
These people are just victims of nature’s circumstances and thus deserved to be loved and appreciated for the unique people that they are.
Thankfully, there is a lot of ongoing research in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders, aimed at improving the quality of life for all the awesome individuals living with neurodisabilities.
Hopefully, science may help us answer all our burning questions, someday.
Are you wondering how you can be a part of the campaign to de-stigmatize those living with neurodisabilities?
Why don’t you start by supporting Autism Outreach efforts, with April being the World Autism month? Check your local communities’ websites and see how you can support these incredible groups of people.
So, rather than stigmatization, let us shine some light on these gifted and incredible set of people. Because being kind and accepting of them goes to show the true meaning of your love for the rest of humanity!
All the very best,