FRANCISTOWN: Children living with disabilities are still being stigmatised and neglected, even by their parents.
The school head of Francistown Centre of Deaf Education (FCDE) Chandabona Chida told Mmegi that some parents neglect their children because they are disabled. She said that some parents abandon their children who have hearing impairments at the school and never bother to check on them or their school performance.
“Those parents are ashamed of their children because they have a disability therefore they abandon them here and they think they are the responsibility of the school and the council,” she said.
Chida said more than half of the children placed in their school have never seen their parents.
She said that parents do not come to visit their children even if the school management asks them to come adding that they do not attend the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) meetings and prize giving ceremonies. “Parents are not supportive towards their children because some come to school at the beginning of the term without toiletries, burdening the school that depends on donations to support the children,” she said.
Chida spoke of one student whose parents had never set foot at the school since the child started Standard One.
She also added that they once encountered a situation where a child needed medical attention and the parent was called
The school head felt that the parents are the perpetrators of negative attitudes towards children with disabilities in the society adding that they discriminate, isolate them and do not appreciate them as their own children.
Kgomotso Jongman, a social worker said that parents do not intentionally abandon their children because they have disabilities.
“It is the shock that leads to parents abandoning children with disabilities to schools because it is hard for them to accept that their children have a certain abnormality,” he said.
He also said that it was a fact that parents cannot deal with children with disabilities and instead opt to run away and not take responsibility of such children adding that, the Children’s Act says that parents should take responsibility of children with or without disabilities.
Jongman advised pregnant women to go through birth counselling to prepare and make them aware that there are certain birth circumstances that might lead to giving birth to a child with a disability.
He said that going through such counselling sessions would help parents accept children with disabilities thereby giving them the love and care that they need.