Many disabilities we encounter at the CERBC clinic, are not fully understood within the community.
This sometimes results in easily treatable disabilities having a profound impact on an individuals life. For instance, in 2017, we marked International Hearing day by conducting an informal study among students and teachers at the CERBC school. This study revealed that 10% of students had some sort of hearing problem, as well as 2 out of 3 teachers.
After testing 5 of these students who had hearing impairments, it was found that 4 had substantial hearing loss--enough that it was likely to affect their studies. We determined that 3 of these students could benefit substantially from hearing aids, thus improving their ability to succeed in school and ultimately, their quality of life.
The 2 teachers' hearing problems were caused by earwax. This is easily correctable, but requires you first be aware of the problem. Additionally, things such as ear infections, left untreated, can end up causing permanent hearing loss.
Because of this, each year on the 3rd of March we celebrate International Hearing day, by giving presentations regarding the anatomy of the ear, causes of hearing problems and the consequences of deafness in everyday life. This enables them to both be sensitive to those with hearing impairment, and be cognizant of hearing impairments they may have.
The lack of understanding also can impact disabled individuals because their peers within the community might not understand the cause and effects of a given disability. For instance, oftentimes teachers or students within the community may not understand a disability such as stuttering, and as a result, their attempts to correct it might exacerbate the problem. This has a snowball effect which ultimately prohibits an individual from being an productive member of the community.