Background to study
A disability is a measurable impairment or limitation that interferes with a person’s ability, for example, to see, walk, lift, hear or learn. It may be referred to as a condition that substantially limits one from more basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying. Disability, impairment and handicap have been used interchangeably but they do not have the same meaning completely, although they are interconnected. According to Crisp (2002) a person who has a physical or intellectual problem is said to be impaired e.g. a person who has short-sightedness has a vision impairment. In a situation whereby the person’s impairment means that he is unable to function in the same way as most people in that particular area, then he is considered disabled. For example a person who has glaucoma does not have a full field of vision as most people and therefore has a visual disability. Then, if the person’s disability means that he cannot have access to the same things as the majority of people, he is considered handicapped. For example a blind person who does not have access to assistive devices such as the cane, glasses, guide dog and so on is said to be visually handicapped.
Attempts have also been made to distinguish between physical disability and the word handicap. According to Crisp (2002) physical disability is not a synonym for disability handicap. Rather handicap is a disadvantage that occurs as a result of a disability or impairment. It refers to the external circumstances, which place people with disabilities at a disadvantage in relation to their peers and the norms of society. Handicaps include physical barriers such as inaccessible entrances to buildings, barriers to education, employment opportunities and negative public attitudes. The degree of disadvantage or the extent of the handicap is often dependent on the adaptations made by both the individual and society (Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2000). Therefore, the extent to which a disability handicaps an individual varies greatly.
Frequently, however, the individuals’ abilities are restricted further by these handicaps. Studies have shown that a handicap is a function of the relationship between the individual and the social and physical environment (Imrie, 1997). Some people with severe physical disabilities must rely on assistive devices that take advantage of their specific abilities and on their ability to use assistive devices with standard products. Commonly used assistive devices include mobility aids (e.g. crutches, wheelchairs), manipulation aids (e.g. prosthetics, orthotics), communication aids (e.g. single switch based artificial voice), and computer/device interface (e.g. eye gaze-operated keyboard).
Also, the ability to cope with disability varies from one individual to another and also on the area in which the individual encounters the difficulty. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair would be much less “handicapped” in a building that is wheelchair accessible than in one that is not. In other words the use of aids such as glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, ramps e.t.c prevents the disabled person from being handicapped in certain areas. Physical disability can also mean being unable to undertake the same range of activities as other people. This includes people with mobility disabilities, (people who have some degree of difficulty in walking) people who have difficulty using their hands or arms and people with restricted growth not putting aside those who are blind or partially sighted and those who do not have the ability to hear clearly. These people may have been born with disability or may develop it. Physical disabilities may result from permanent injuries to the brain, spinal cord, eyes and other parts of the body which is as a result of motor accidents, wars, natural disasters and diseases such as polio.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The American Association of physically challenged individuals (AAPCI) (2001) recognizes that “people with disabilities are many, are also a neglected minority in the community and are severely underrepresented in the various institutions services”. In the preliminary study conducted, it was observed that the Services Available in vocational and special education falculty in university of calabar did not include adequate facilities and services for the physically challenged persons, no special resources/devices (disability materials) such as Braille materials, talking books, wheelchairs, reading glasses and other reading aids for the visually impaired and the aged users of the library were mentioned.
Another problem is the issue of buildings. Most academic building in university of calabar are of multiple floors which lack necessary facilities such as ramps, railings, special washrooms and other necessities to assist persons with various disabilities. The interior layouts of these building are often done in ways that barely offer them any freedom to move round. It is on this note, that the researcher is conducting a research to Assess services available for physically challenged youth in calabar south lga
.1.3 Research Questions
This study sought answers to the following research questions:
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this study include:
1.5 Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study will help the Nigerian tertiary institution to assess the available policies and services provided for physically challenged and to adopt the practices that are most effective and efficient particularly to the physically challenged. It will provide an insight of possible solution to the problem or challenges encountered by the physically challenged user in accessing academic facilities and services.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is on examining the services available for physically challenged youth in calabar south lga
. This study was limited to faculty of vocational and special education in university of calabar, because of some certain constraints such as inadequate timeframe, shortage of funds, delay attitude of the respondents in terms of releasing information and pres