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82

Guide des Parents
Guide for Parents

Disability

Ali Jookhun

“Some still think
it is a curse”

Having a child or a teenager with a disability can be an
ordeal for parents. Especially if they have not been prepared. This is what Ali Jookhun, president of the U-Link
association, confirms.
From the beginning, the president of
the NGO U-Link is pleased that today,
thanks to technology, many disabilities
can be detected very early, well before
birth. So parents are prepared. However,
he said, certain disabilities can be noticed only at the birth of the child. “This
is a shock for parents. And the way this
news will be announced to them will determine their reaction. We often wonder
who the best person to perform this task
is. Is it a doctor, a psychologist...? In any
case, it should be a person who has been

trained to announce this kind of news.
Because the announcement has an impact on the acceptance of the child. This is
facilitated by a ‘positive’ announcement.
Once the child is accepted, in the minds of
parents, they consider him like any other
children,” says Ali Jookhun.
He indicates that the education level
of parents, in many cases, affects the acceptance of the disability of their child.
He says that it is a very complex process
that takes time. “We need psychological
support and sometimes even religious

support. Do we realise that today in
Mauritius, some people are convinced
that a disabled child is a curse? They are
wrong. Rather, it is a blessing. You learn
a lot from these children.”
Therefore, according to him, the person who announces the news to the
parents must downplay the situation.
“He must explain that there are, nowadays, all kinds of facilities to raise a child
with disabilities. In fact, the acceptance
of the disabled child plays considerably
on how the news is announced to them,”
he insists. He specifies that unlike some
handicaps, others are not visible immediately. This is the case of autism or
intellectual disabilities. Thus, it is only as
the child grows up that his parents will
be aware of his disabilities.


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