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The Mentally Challenged

            When one looks at the world around, what is it that one notices? The way people walk? The way people act? What about those that don't walk, talk, or even look like most people? Everyone, regardless of who that person may be, needs to be reminded of the saying, "You can't judge a book by its cover." A lack of understanding is what leads to prejudice. The prejudices are not only against people with different skin tones, ages, or sexes, these prejudices also extend to judgments made against the physically and mentally challenged. Through my experience at the centre for the mentally challenged, I have learnt further about and understood these people. The Mentally Challenged express themselves in a pure clear way; they may rock their bodies to and fro, flick fingers in front of their face, make odd noises or have difficulty relating themselves to space, making one feel uneasy but it's not like they can help it. One must understand that they have poor motor and speech development; they are only trying to express themselves, just like us. The mentally challenged require one step directions, all instructions and steps should be broken down as understanding and following more than one thing at a time is very difficult. Everyone is capable of learning; it's just that some people learn slower. I remember trying to explain the simple game of "Memory" to the mentally challenged; they could not understand how the game was played. In the end, the cards had to be flipped over and the game was changed into a game of just matching, the mentally challenged had to be constantly shown how to play until only some got it. The mentally challenged require demonstration in concrete form, have a short attention span and short-term memory. Though they have poor memory recall, I noticed that they can carry on repetitive routine tasks without being reminded, such as going for lunch and packing up after playing.

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