The Past, Present and Future of the Services Offered to Disabled People Discussed at CIU
The Special Education Department of the Faculty of Education, Cyprus International University (CIU), held a conference on the Past, Present, and Future of the Services Offered to Disabled People in order to draw attention to the problems and to be able to better understand them.
Prof. Dr. Ayşegül Ataman stated that the old Turkish societies considered disability as supernatural forces instead of perceiving it as a problem. Ataman mentioned the first centre for visually impaired people was opened in France. She said Philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment discussed this issue.
Ataman said when the world passed to the monotheistic religions, people with disabilities were marginalized. After World War II, it was noticed that when these marginalized people were given an opportunity they could do everything.
Ataman said educational opportunities for disabled people increased after the 1950s, stating that Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mithat Enç, who was the founder of the Special Education Department, opened the first blind school in Turkey. Ataman mentioned that disabled people could not get enough education due to limited educational rights, and she pointed out that universities in Turkey are the organizations that provide the employment opportunities for disabled people. The requirement of hiring people with disabilities is 3% and employers want to employ, but they do not know which procedures to follow.
In her speech, Ataman pointed out that it is more appropriate to perceive the individual with a social description rather than a physical description. She said it is more accurate to perceive disabled people as individuals rather than as a needy person.
Vasfiye Karabıyık, Lecturer of the CIU Special Education Department, said the conference aimed to increase awareness of disabled people, and she said “Our aim is to support individuals with disabilities to maintain an independent life in society and to help provide services for their needs.”