Disabilty is not a deficit

The essence of the rights based approach to disability challenges the old stereotypical, pityful ways of looking at disability as a deficit. In my atypical advocacy work I shall give two lectures on blind mathematicians contribution to the development of mathematics. I shall argue that they achieved important and beautiful results in mathematics not in spite of their disability but because of their impairment they had to develop a deeper vision in mathematics. The lectures are hosted by the National Federation of the Blind and will take place on 13 and 15 September in Bhubaneswar and in Delhi.

Vision of Blindness: A Celebration of Blind Mathematicians

Gabor Gombos,
Visiting Ashoka Fellow, Bapu Trust, Pune, India; Senior Advocacy Officer, Mental Disability Advocacy Center, Budapest, Hungary

Disability is often associated with deficits. It is believed that particular impairments render persons with disabilities incapable of or unable to carry out certain kind of activities. However this is an incomplete understanding of the lived reality of persons with disability. Persons with disabilities can, like all others, undertake all activities with appropriate capability development in an empowering environment.

It is this deficits perspective which causes people to think that blind persons would be unable to do mathematics. The lecture would illustratively demonstrate how blindness contributes to mathematical vision and would argue for requisite support to blind persons to do mathematics.

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