Other Diseases
Disabilities
​What is disability?
A disability is a total or partial, temporary or permanent physical, sensory, mental, communicative, educational or psychological impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the disabled person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities and making him dependent on others, or in need of special tool, special training and special rehabilitation to use of it.
 
Kinds of disability:
Visual impairment, hearing impairment, mental disorders, and physical disability, learning disability, speech or language impairment, emotional and behavioral disorders, multiple disabilities, and other disabilities that require special care. Each of these disabilities is different for each individual in terms of its severity and the possibility of treatment.
 

Key Facts:

  • Over a billion people, about 15% of the world's population, have some form of disability.
  • Rates of disability are increasing due to population ageing and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.
  • Disabilities are more common among low-income segments.
  • People with disabilities have less access to health care services and therefore experience unmet health care needs.
  • Disabled children have less access to education than healthy children, and less job opportunities accordingly. 
  • The disabled encounter difficult living conditions: malnutrition, difficulties of housing, sanitation, etc.
  • There is shortage of rehabilitative centers for people with disabilities, as well as supportive devices such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and hearing devices, etc.
  • A person with disability can participate in maximizing the development of society, and to have an effective role.
 

Nutrition of people with disabilities:

  • Evaluating the nutritional condition of the disabled and estimating their actual needs of nutrients.
  • Contributing to promoting the health of people with disabilities, and strengthening their immunity against diseases.
  • Early prevention of such malnutrition problems as anemia, obesity and thinness.
  • Making up the shortfall of some nutrients caused by taking certain medications for long periods, or other problems such as constipation and vomiting.
  • Developing manual kinetic skills of the disabled, by training them on how to eat by themselves, for example.
  • Developing the child's behavior, and tightening his connection with the community around him.
 
Factors influencing the nutrition of people with disabilities:
  • Such body disorders and deformations as the oral movement, snapping jaws defects, inability to swallow or chew, and digestive system disorders affect the nutrition and feeding of people with disabilities.
  • There are certain foods that increases or decreases appetite, and some other foods reduce the absorption of nutrients (such as iron), and some cause other health problems such as constipation, vomiting, or allergy.
  • Isolating the child with disability from those around him, and parents' ignorance or inexistence with him affect his nutrition and psychology.
  • Difficulty of predicting the development and growth of the disabled child makes it even harder to properly estimate his nutritional demands.
  • The disabled person's needs of nutrients are the same as the healthy person. No particular or specific food is prescribed. The required quantity of each nutrient is higher or lower the normal according to the health status and the level of disability.
  • Comparison between the normal (healthy) child and the disabled one (in terms of growth, development and the nutritional and health status) should be based on the height rather than age.
  • Each person with disability should be treated individually; since each case has its own circumstances which might differ from another case, even with the same age and category.
  • It should be taken into consideration that the development and growth of the child with disability is less and slower than those of normal children.
 
Involving disabled people in the development:
Persons with disabilities encounter many disadvantages in their societies and are often subjected to stigma and discrimination. They remain largely marginalized, disproportionately poorer, frequently unemployed and have higher rates of mortality. Furthermore, they are largely excluded from civil and political processes and are overwhelmingly voiceless in matters that affect them and their society.
 
Participation experiences:
Experience shows that when persons with disabilities are empowered to participate and lead the process of development, their entire community benefits, as their involvement creates opportunities for everyone – with or without a disability. Including persons with disabilities and their communities in developmental efforts is important to advance the development agenda. Thus it is imperative that development efforts around the world include disability issues when determining policies, programs, as well as allocating funds for developmental programs and projects. Mainstreaming disability in development is a strategy for achieving equality for persons with disabilities.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is both a human rights treaty and a development tool, provides an opportunity to strengthen developmental policies related to the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), thereby contributing to the realization of a “society for all” in the twenty-first century.
 
 Disabled people in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia: 
The Saudi laws and regulations have granted exclusive rights for this segment of the community and has provided the means to maintain their rights, in order to ensure them a sound living and the ability to engage into all sectors of society through providing rehabilitation and healthcare services for them, as well as facilitating all the means that will enable them to enjoy their lives with their families, in light of the provision subsidies and facilities, taking into account their needs, and prioritizing them in all government sectors.
  
What areas of disability and rehabilitation can the disabled people contribute to?
Awareness: The disabled can raise awareness in the community about their rights, needs, potential and contributions.
Healthcare: States should ensure the provision job opportunities in the field of medical care to persons with disabilities, give them the opportunity to participate in the development of appropriate strategies for them
Rehabilitation: Persons with disabilities should be encouraged to involve themselves in rehabilitation, in order to enable them to reach and maintain the optimum level of independence and function.
 
Obstacles that prevent the disabled people from enjoying their rights:
Many disabled persons suffer from marginalization because of many reasons, including lack of understanding of the nature of the disability and the fear of dealing with it, being ashamed from the involvement with their community, poverty, living in remote places, lack of understanding of the ways of dealing with such cases, and ignorance of the role assigned to health facilities.
 

Negative Consequences of Non-Participation of People with Disabilities in Development Planning:

  • Increasing the severity of disability.
  • Deterioration of their disability.
  • Hostility or introversion.
  • Hindering  prevention and treatment plans for diseases related to disability
  • Increasing levels of unemployment and poverty.
 
What is e-accessibility?
Using information and communication technologies have become of indispensible importance for more and more people, at the economic, educational and social levels. Therefore, it isn't a matter of choice to provide open access to websites. And people with disabilities, just like the others, have the right to make use of such information.

Electronic accessibility, or E-Accessibility, refers to the ease of use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, by people with disabilities. Web sites need to be developed so that disabled users can access the information. For example:

  • for people who are blind, web sites need to be able to be interpreted by programs which read text aloud and describe any visual images;
  • for people who have low vision, web pages need adjustable sized fonts and sharply contrasting colors; and
  • for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, audio content should be accompanied by text versions of the dialogue. Sign language video can also help make audio content more accessible.

Why is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities important?
People with disabilities are often denied chances to work, go to school and participate fully in society - which creates barriers for their prosperity and well being. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is important because it is a tool for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to the same rights and opportunities as everybody else. There are around 1 billion people with disabilities in the world. They are often the poorest of the poor. The stigma and discrimination they suffer are common in all societies.
The Convention is a human rights treaty designed by representatives of the international community - including people with disabilities, government officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and others - to change the way people with disabilities are viewed and treated in their societies.
Rather than considering disability as an issue of medicine, charity or dependency, the Convention challenges people worldwide to understand disability as a human rights issue. The Convention covers many areas where obstacles can arise, such as physical access to buildings, roads and transportation, and access to information through written and electronic communications. The Convention also aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, which are often reasons why people with disabilities are excluded from education, employment and health and other services.
For the first time, a legally binding international instrument now exists to guarantee that States that have ratified the treaty will promote and protect the rights of people with disabilities. These States will next work on passing their own national civil rights legislation to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
 

Recommendations:

  • The Participation of people with disabilities in the development process will have the greatest impact on their physical and psychological health, and it contributes to providing an effective member of the community rather than being a burden on others.
  • Providing material and moral support for people with disabilities on equal footing.
  • States should ensure the development and supply of supportive services, including assistive devices and technologies, to assist people with disabilities to increase their level of independence in their daily living and to exercise their rights.
  • Staff training: States are responsible for ensuring the adequate training for employees, at all levels; those involved in the planning and provision of programs and services concerning people with disabilities.
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