What it means to live with a disability in Italy

What it means to live with a disability in Italy

9 March 2023 0 By salvatore cimmino
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Idjwi Island
March against violation of people with disabilities’ human rights

What does it mean to live with a disability in Italy today? It means having unexpressed needs; it means seeking answers from institutions that are in hiding; it means having to give up attending school regularly; it means not having a support teacher who follows us; it means giving up being able to go around our cities freely; it means not being able to have a job, therefore an income that allows us to freely choose the treatments or therapies or technologies corresponding to one’s needs; it ultimately means having to give up leaving the house, embracing the world.

And yet, we are, we live, we exist. We are not aliens, like everyone else, we are natural persons with legal capacity and ability to act.

All this happens because, when we think of people with disabilities, we tend to focus on their pathologies, their physical and mental conditions, their state of health and we don’t see what they really are beyond their so-called limits. Limits that could be overcome, if not completely at least in part, are not only thanks to medical care and the support of adequately trained personnel – certainly fundamental – but also thanks to technologies, finally real and available, capable of making gestures and actions that for everyone else are perfectly normal. Like walking, eating, drinking, reading a book, talking to a person. Overcoming or alleviating certain limits would help to free the person from the burden of disability, allowing him to fully express all those potentials that constitute normality for others.

Living with a disability doesn’t have to mean total exclusion from any kind of social, work or sporting activity, on the contrary, these activities should be encouraged, where possible, making the most of what science makes available to us.

The Constitution represents the fundamental law of a country, the architrave of civil society, but it is often ignored, betrayed, evaded, transgressed by a distracted and defaulting political class. The last wickedness in chronological order was the elimination, in the Decree-law n. 11 of 16 February last, of the 75% architectural barriers bonus, thus again effectively denying the right to mobility by removing the obstacles that often make people with disabilities confined in their own homes.

In conclusion, I would like to remind the entire political class that the right to mobility, the right to enjoy science, the right to education, the right to work, the right to citizenship, are human rights.

Salvatore Cimmino