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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
The World Health Organization (2012) defines 'disability' as any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. Some common types of disabilities that fall under the scope of this definition are physical (mobility) disability, vision disability, hearing disability and learning disability. However, people with disabilities cannot be termed as abnormal just because they cannot perform activities which an able-bodied person can do. Since these people are in the minority, they are usually looked down upon by society at large. Due to this fact, people with disabilities face a lot of problems such as social isolation and discrimination.

Social isolation-a major issue faced by people with disabilities-is a state in which a person lacks face-to-face contact with other people living in the community. People who have physical disabilities and those who are blind are bound to face this problem. As a result of their disabilities, they have limited freedom of movement to allow them to go out and socialise with others. A wheelchair-bound person, for example, finds it difficult to get into a taxi without the help of another person. A person who is visually-impaired will not be able to drive and needs assistance to move about. Thus, they tend to isolate themselves and do not participate in activities outside the safety of their homes. They feel that they are burdening other people with their disability. In addition, they also lose their sense of belonging in society. People in the community are partly to blame for this due to their lack of sensitivity in understanding the needs of disabled people. They may fail to see that disabled people also need to go out and meet people, so that they too will have a chance of nurturing healthy relationships. People with disabilities who live in social isolation become lonely and can easily give up hope on life. According to Dr Stephen Sheppard (as cited in Wassom, n.d.), a clinical psychologist from University of Utah Rehabilitation Center, social isolation affects the emotional well-being of people with disabilities and this makes them depressed, anxious and insecure. Thus, social isolation is a risk factor to people with disabilities, resulting in loneliness and emotional instability, and cannot be viewed lightly.

The second problem faced by people with disabilities is discrimination. Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfairly or negatively due to his or her race, age, religion, gender or disability. As discrimination casts a serious negative effect on people with disabilities, a Disability Discrimination Act 1992 was instituted. The Act (Commonwealth of Australia, 2010) states that `disability discrimination has taken place if, as a result of a person's disability, someone else treats them or proposes to treat them less positively than the discriminator would treat a person without a disability in the similar situation.' People with disabilities usually encounter various types of discrimination such as employment discrimination, housing discrimination, education discrimination and discrimination when using public transport. For example, during an interview, a potential employee on a wheelchair would have to answer questions on whether he or she could climb a flight of stairs or whether he or she could attend a meeting which is held outside the vicinity of the workplace. Employment discrimination experienced by people with disabilities will affect their livelihood and sometimes causes them to live in a state of poverty. All forms of discrimination against people with disabilities make it difficult for them to live a comfortable life.

In summary, people with disabilities face a lot of problems and challenges that result in frustration. They cannot run away from these feelings because they are living in a society that is not fully sensitive to their needs. Whether they like it or not, they still have to face problems such as isolation and being subjected to unfair treatment by society. They have to be emotionally strong to be able to handle life's difficulties that stand in the way of living a happy, fulfilling life.

     
    What do the following words refer to in the passage ?
  1. they
  2. They
  3. their
     
    Answer the questions below based on the passage.
  1. What are the types of disabilities as defined by the World Health Organization ?
  2. Should people in the community be blamed for social isolation among disabled persons ? Why or why not ?
  3. Give the main idea in paragraph II.
  4. What does the writer mean by this statement: 'Employment discrimination experienced by people with disabilities will affect their livelihood and sometimes causes them to live in a state of poverty' (paragraph III)
  5. What is the writer's advice to disabled people ?
     
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    Answers
     
1.   people with disabilities
2.   people in the community
3.   people with disabilities'
     
1.   physical (mobility) disability, vision disability, hearing disability and learning disabilities
2.   Yes, because they lack the sensitivity in understanding the needs of people with disabilities.
3.   One of the problems encountered by people with disabilities is social isolation.
4.   The disabled community are not given and equal chance when seeking jobs and thus they cannot afford to live comfortably and sometimes lead lives of poverty.
5.   They have to be mentally and emotionally strong to face life's challenges and lead a happy life.
   

 

 
 
 
 

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