One speaker, a visually impaired person, is a principal of a blind school, while the other is a doctor, who is involved in treating children with disabilities. Their speeches on Tuesday were short and precise and revolved around one thing that the differently-abled people need opportunities to move hand-in-hand with normal people.

Clasitus D'Sa, Principal of the Roman Catholic Lobo School for Blind, and Jaya Shanker Tedla, Associate Professor, Kasturba Medical College's (KMC) Department of Physiotherapy, were speaking on “Differently abled people – management”. The event was jointly organised by the Mangalore Management Association, the National Institute of Personnel Management and the SDM College of Business Management.

Mr. D'Sa said people still lacked awareness about the ability of people with disabilities. “We do not do some things. But do not think we cannot do anything,” he said. The people with disabilities need opportunity. “With the right kind of opportunity, we can succeed,” he said. The society would progress only if there was an increase in the awareness about the ability of the differently-abled people, he said. Referring to achievements of well-known author Helen Keller, a visually impaired woman, Mr.

D'Sa said: “She learnt to speak and conquered the world because the American society gave her an opportunity. Here no one has got interest to consider us as one among them,” he said. Pointing to the four young athletes from the Dakshina Kannada district who won medals in Special Olympics, Mr. D'Sa said: “these children were given the opportunity and they got rewards,' he said.

Dr. Tedla said there should be encouragement to make differently-abled study in normal schools. The company of the normal children helped them grow normally. “If the child is mentally sound but has some physical problem, then do not underestimate the capacity of the child,” he said. Even children with psychological problems could improve if they were in the company of normal children, he added.

About 75 per cent of disability could be prevented if there was a proper care during pre-natal, delivery and post-natal periods. In the pre-natal stage, women should be provided with proper psychological comfort, excellent nutrition and “a little physical activity” during three months before the date of delivery. At the time of delivery, efforts should be made to make the child breathe and see that it got the necessary nutrition. Immediate attention needed to be given in the first year.

U.V. Shenoy, Professor in the Department of Paediatrics in the KMC and trustee of Seva Bharati, spoke. The four Special Olympics medal winners — Dhanya S. Rao, Roystom Pinto, Anil Mendonsa, and Pramila Pinto — were felicitated.

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