Disability is treated as a disease

According to a workshop organized within the project “Media for Citizens Disability – Citizens for Media” disability is being treated as a disease. “A strong message to a society without prejudice”, foreseen as a training for representatives of electronic media, which was held at the Youth Center in Podgorica.
Representative of NGO Equivalent, Dunja Samardzic said that, as NGOs activists, they are dealing with the representation of persons with disabilities in the media, where it is important to emphasize the media as creator of the image of society and therefore the objective image of persons with disabilities. All of what they do through activities not only through this project but through numerous other projects concerning disability all with the aim of integrating persons with disabilities into society. For the representation of persons with disabilities, the media play a very important role in the way in which the PWD will be presented in the media. That is why we organize trainings like this to help editors, presenters, journalists, etc to create and represent the life of a PWD in the best way and to make it as authentic as possible. Also, what often happens identity should not be based on their disability but on their individuality and we are all individuals and differently characterized by something special and not just disability or knowledge alone – Samardzic said. She added that persons with disabilities are persons who have congenital or acquired physical, intellectual or mental impairment which, due to social or other obstacles, creates an inability or limitation for PED’s opportunities to integrate equally in society, just like everyone else. The four types of impairments are physical, sensory, intellectual and mental, the last one: intellectual or mental, is actually already expressed as psychic and psycho-social disabilities, under which psycho-social disabilities are actually implied that their intellectual or mental impairments are actually something that is different and these are actually expressions that are acceptable – she said.
No other expression is adequate or what we hear in the media which we will mention later: developmental disability, retardation, autistic persons (persons with autism). The only thing that is acceptable is mental impairment if it is an intellectual impairment. When it comes to physical damage – people with physical disabilities have difficulty moving, so they move with the help of wheelchairs, crutches, walkers of other aids. Also physical disability includes speech impairment and sensory disabilities, sensory disabilities are considered as impaired vision and hearing impairment and these are actually accepted terms in accordance with standards – said Samardzic. She said that persons with deaf problem, who are blind and the visually impaired are not only who are disabled, what confuses the citizens the most because the NGOs dealing with PWD are called, for example, “Union of the Blind of Montenegro” or “Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro”, on the other hand we ourselves are activists against the use of the term handicap. This is because these non-governmental organizations are particularly the “Alliance of the Blind of Montenegro”, which has been in existence for 73 years. In fact, when these NGOs were created back then, there was still talk of some basic rights, basic simple things and at the time names were not considered, said Samardzic.
A biomedical model where disability is just considered to be an individual problem. People with disabilities are isolated in various institutions, hospitals, homes and most often from a family in four walls in a room. Persons with disabilities are perceived as a disease, and therefore PWDs are then subjected to various solutions, medical interventions which are very demanding. A similar model to this is a functional one, also disability is a problem for the individual, PWDs were placed in special institutions and where they were isolated, said Samardzic.
Decisions about their own lives could not be made at all, when we talk about the functional model there is two resource centers in Montenegro. So, these are special schools exclusively for people with disabilities, so that functional model can be noticed, although there is a tendency for special schools to be closed, said Samardzic.

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