To hear, to speak, to touch, to smell, to see, to take part in all that nature has to offer, is the desire of everyone.
And yet one small act of carelessness, one minor mishap on the part of a mother may result in permanent injury to her child, depriving it of full participation in the joys and thrills of life—depriving it of its rightful heritage to enter this world fully equipped to share in all that life has to offer.
Lately I had the occasion to visit the schools for the blind and the deaf in Auckland. Both schools draw their cases from the whole of the North Island except for the Wellington Province I went there not knowing quite what to expect. I was conducted round the classes and to my astonishment there was always one Maori, sometimes more, in each class. In fact I learned that one-third of the number admitted to these special schools are Maoris: a phenomenal figure when one considers that Maoris only constitute one-sixteenth of the total New Zealand population. What is the reason for this excessive number of Maoris in these schools? What can be done about it?
Let me quote some cases that live in the school:
Ray is a boy who has been kicked on the head by a horse. He has been going progressively blind until he is at a stage where he is almost totally blind.
Lilly has been admitted because she is totally blind. She has up till now been educationally neglected and is consequently backward schol-astically. During her first fourteen years at home she developed a fear of sex which resulted in emotional outbursts and general instability, though with institutional care she has improved considerably.
Kiwi is a blind boy who has been neglected. Consequently he is emotionally unstable and scholastically backward; had he been admitted earlier this could have been prevented. There are many cases similar to this. They are admitted so that they can be taught to partially overcome their disability and to take their place in the community as normal adults.
Carol is a six year old Maori girl. Her mother ran away from home, leaving Carol and five other young brothers and sisters. This traumatic emotional experience caused partial blindness to Carol which, although she still partly sees, is progressively becoming complete.
There are many other cases of neglect and
KA MUTU PEA I TE KAINGAKAUNUITIA
Chew Wrigley's ARROWMINT Gum. Helps keep teeth bright, freshens taste, sweetens breath. Pleasant aid to popularity.
Healthful Refreshing Delicious Try it and see!
carelessness causing physical defects. Most of them could have been avoided. The World Health Organisation states: “Every child has the right to expect the greatest possible protection against-the occurrence of preventable physical handicaps during and after birth.”
It is in the home that many of these unfortunate mishaps can be checked.
Think of Carol whose mother ran away from her sacred duties, of Kiwi the neglected, and Lilly the sexually frightened. Not only have these children lost one of their senses, but, in addition, they are deprived of essential parental care.
In New Zealand the authorities require the blind and deaf to be admitted and diagnosed even at the early age of three or four years, so that specialised and continuous training may be carried out, and although one may see the danger in depriving the child of parental love, parents should not be left to struggle alone with the problems raised by a defective child or attempt to reassure themselves that the child is really normal or “will grow out of it”: it is not in the interests either of the child, the family, or society. These institutions provide, as far as possible, the conditions which allow children full development, physically, emotionally and intellectually. They are divided into small units in which there are sufficient staff to enable the children to have satisfactory parental substitutes.
If one suspects anything wrong, such as partial blindness or deafness, one should not hesitate to refer the child to specialised care, for the longer it is delayed the more detrimental it becomes to the child. Sometimes a child is thought to be subnormal because he is backward in his school work, when his only requirements are a set of spectacles or a hearing aid. The doctor, school-teacher or district nurse can help in such cases.
Children who cannot hear or see are really handicapped: they are constantly reminded of their defects so that they experience far more emotional upsets than the normal person, yet every child has the right to develop his potentialities to the maximum and as much right as anyone to live a full life. This implies that all children, irrespective of whether or not they suffer from emotional or physical handicaps, should have ready access to the best medical treatment, education, vocational preparation and employment. It is the duty of parents and social welfare workers to educate and train defective children so that they are able to satisfy fully the needs of their own personalities and become as far as possible independent and useful members of the community.
Maori Culture on RECORDS
MAORI LANGUAGE. Six records in a series called Let's Learn Maori by W. T. Ngata. Each record is complete in itself and deals with a separate subject: 1—Pronunciation, 2—Simple Sentence, 3—Negative Sentence, 4—Counting, 5—Noun and Pronoun, 6—The Verb. All 45 r.p.m. Extended Play. 14s. each
MAORI LEGENDS. Two records narrated by Kenneth Melvin (‘Tusi-tala, Teller of Tales’): 1—Hinemoa and Tutanekai, 2—Tinirau and his Pet Whale. 45 r.p.m. E.P. 11s. 6d. each
MAORI ACTION SONGS. Putiki Maori Club presents nine action songs on one 45 r.p.m. E.P. record. 11s. 6d.
You can see and hear these records at your record shop.
Requests for further information and suggestions for new Maori records will be welcomed by A. H. & A. W. Reed.
Distributed by A. H. & A. W. REED182 Wakefield Street, Wellington