Disability and Communication


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This presentation was made at AYJNIHH launch of course on Disability and Media.

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Disability and Communication

  1. 1. Curricular Issues/Perspectives on Disability Communication Dr Mira K. Desai Reader in Communication Technology Coordinator- PGD Communication & Media S.N.D.T. Women‟s University Juhu Campus, Mumbai
  2. 2. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 2 Course in disability communication: Some ??s  Why do we need a course like this? No existing course deals with it No existing media knows how to handle it We recognize the need for such course  What will this course do? Sensitize, Train, Educate all of US…..about how to handle disability issues for/in/with media and society
  3. 3. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 3 What must have been discussed…  „Disability‟ and issues related to condition  Media and matters related to media  Media content about/by disabled and disability  Ability to critically view existing „handling‟ of disability issues by local/global media  Skills to write/report/see/listen to disability issues ‘in’ media and ‘for’ media  Ability to see one’s own bias/prejudice towards disabled and environment to handle that bias/prejudice
  4. 4. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 4 What I am going to discuss…  Construction of “disability”  Scope of the term  Disability in India/Indian media  Mass media and disability  Curriculum of disability communication  Curricular challenges
  5. 5. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 5 NORMAL (Standard/Norm) Not So-NORMAL (Away from the standard/Norm) What are our definitions??
  6. 6. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 6 Not-so-normal..in what sense?  Differently abled people  People with Special needs • Mobility • Labour • Resources • Fertility • Sexuality Able-Bodied VERSUS Dis-abled
  7. 7. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 7 Disability Versus Ability  Disability and ability are temporary state of mind within the individual/collective space  Disability is a condition not a disease  Ability is advantage not privilege  Disability demands understanding not sympathy  Ability needs to be handled not taken for granted
  8. 8. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 8 Why is „disability‟ an issue?  Disability is a lack of ability relative to a personal/ group standard or norm.  In reality there is often simply a spectrum of ability.  It may involve physical impairment such as sensory impairment, cognitive or intellectual impairment, mental disorder (also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability), or various types of chronic disease.  A disability may occur during a person's lifetime or may be present from birth.
  9. 9. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 9 Disability encompasses….  Body functions and structure  Activities (related to tasks and actions by an individual) and participation (involvement in a life situation)  Contextuality of condition: Information on severity and environmental factors (Education, Employment, the benefit system, support services, the built environment, the leisure industry, and politics)
  10. 10. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 10 We are referring to all…..as „1‟  Austism  Deaf Blindness  Developmental Delay  Hearing Impaired  Learning Disabilities  Mental Retardation  Multiple Disabilities  Traumatic Brain Injury  Orthopedic Impairments  Other Health Impairments  Speech and Language Impaired  Visual Impairment may be more……
  11. 11. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 11 Communication Challenges  “Disabled” as diverse group  Communication „reach‟ would vary for each  The means of communication can‟t be standardized  Perception of receivers about disabled is a challenging area  Media deal with disabled as „one‟ group 
  12. 12. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 12 Disability in India  2.19 crore persons with disabilities in India  They are 2.13 % of the total population.  This includes persons with visual, hearing, speech,locomotor and mental disabilities.  75 % of them live in rural areas  49 % of them are literate  34 % of them are employedSource: Census 2001, GOI, New Delhi
  13. 13. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 13 “Disability”…in Indian Media??  Hindi Films: Dosti (1964), Koshish (1972), Sparsh(1980), Sadma(1983), Khamoshi - The Musical (1996), Lagaan (2001), Aankhen (2002), Koi Mil Gaya(2004), 15 Park Avenue(2005), Black(2005), Iqbal (2005), Tare Zameen Par(2007)…..  Advertising:……  Print: Books, magazines probably newspaper columns but low visibility  Television: DD news bulletins, Ba Bahu Baby…  Theatre: Lot of work (not documented though)  Internet………..
  14. 14. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 14 Google*…gives the picture!! Search Term Pages on the World Wide Web Pages from India Disability 53,9,00,000 52,3,00,000 3,93,000 3,90,000 Disability Communication 20,8,00,000 20,3,00,000 92,000 86,900 Disability Curriculum 4,6,80,000 4,3,50,000 16,100 15,100 * As per the search carried out on Feb 19 and March 5, 2009
  15. 15. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 15 Mass Media and Disabled-1  Commonly recurring disabling stereotypes:  the disabled person as pitiable and pathetic  object of curiosity or violence  sinister or evil  the super cripple  laughable  her/his own worst enemy  a burden  non-sexual  being unable to participate in daily life
  16. 16. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 16 Mass Media and Disabled-2  Disabled are not so visible group in media  By Hiding them we deny of disabled people's role as consumers/members of society  Some social advertisements present distorted view of ‘disability and disabled people’ to raise money  Some glorify them to simplify the reality of their life
  17. 17. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 17 Disability Communication  Unit No.1: Sociology of Disabilities : Understanding Disabilities. Causes of Disability. Disability issues in the ancient world. Media and Disabilities.  Unit No.2 : Social ethics and Disability : Principles of Social ethics, Human Rights and Social Justice in the context -of disabilities.  Unit No.3 : Communication for the disabled : Formulation of messages for the disabled, Messages for the blind, Communication through sign language for the hearing impaired persons, Counselling.  Unit No.4 : Role Playing: Art of Communication for the retarded children and spastic children through drama and song. (Source: www.rehabcouncil.nic.in)
  18. 18. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 18 ‘rehabcouncil.nic.in’ module  Assumption that „disabled‟ are silent and the communication has to be „for‟ them and not „by‟ them  Assumption that „we‟ „normal‟ people want to communicate with them and not the other way round  Assumption that children with disability and adult with disability can be handled in the same manner  What about diverse needs of „different‟ disabled people?
  19. 19. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 19 Curricular Challenge- Essential Interdisciplinarity Special Education Media & Communication Studies Medicine & Engineering Social Work Many be more… Sociology Psychology
  20. 20. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 20 Disability communication Course  Scope and scale of course  Curriculum  Learners- profile, Needs/expectations, Abilities/sk ills, Motivations….  Expected outcome/opportunities
  21. 21. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 21 Basic curricular components  Learning objectives  Learning content- Scope, Rationale  Learning organisation- Duration, Sequencing  Teaching/Learning methods  Place of learning- Internship, exposure visits  Teaching media and materials  Assessment (exams)  Certification
  22. 22. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 22 Possibilities….by each of us  Understanding about terms like Impairment, Handicapped, Disability  Basic knowledge about medical, legal and social aspects of disability  Recognition of interplay of individual factors (impairment, motivation and self-esteem) with external factors (the barriers, oppression and expectations and attitudes of other people)  Understanding & empathy with experiences of disabled and Expansion of that to others  Sensitization of others through media content
  23. 23. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 23 Lets hope…..to see  Change in perspective rather than either becoming protective, defensive or sympathetic  Visibility/mainstreaming of disability issues  „Disabled‟ people as „message creators‟ rather than passive recipients of media  Recognition of care takers/givers of „disabled‟ and communication about/support for them  Recognition of disabled as diverse group  Assistive technology for disabled media users
  24. 24. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 24 Take a look…..  Kamlesh Patel‟s 6th February 2009 Ahmedabad audition of Dance India Dance  Patel has polio since age of five  http://danceindiadance.in/videos/contestants /2009/kamlesh-patel-ahmedabad-auditions- 6th-feb/ ….To See how we treat disabled in our society And how disabled want to be treated…….
  25. 25. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 25 “For the able-bodied, normal world we are representatives of many of the things they most fear-tragedy, loss, dark and the unknown.…If everyone were disabled as we are, there would be no special situation to consider” Paul Hunt, Disabled Britain writer and activist Hunt, P. (ed.) 1966: Stigma: The Experience of Disability, London: Geoffrey Chapman
  26. 26. 6th March 2009 Disability Communication 26 Few Pointers…..>>>  http://www.disabilityhistory.org  http://www.solutionexchange-un.net.in  http://socialjustice.nic.in/disabled  www.rehabcouncil.nic.in  http://specialed.about.com/od/disabilities  http://www.dnis.org/  http://www.wid.org/  www.leeds.ac.uk/disability-studies
  27. 27. Thank you very much for your time and patience I can be reached @ mirakdesai@rediffmail.com