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The Spirited Trailblazer

DebashreePolio

Debashree Bhattacharya, a spirited individual hailing from the vibrant streets of Kolkata is now living in Bangalore as part of the incredible team at EnAble India! For Debashree, life’s been a rollercoaster living with a severe Locomotor disability, due to contracting Polio at the age of two. She describes her childhood challenges and her need for constant caregiving. Despite facing obstacles, Debashree took it on like a champ, maneuvering her way through exams and classes, adapting to school and college with the help of a supportive community. Her candid insight into the past reveals the importance of early intervention and therapy for children with disabilities, advocating that parents should never hesitate to seek expert opinions.

Transcript

I’m Debashree. Debashree Bhattacharya.

I hail from Kolkata, and for the last one and a half years I have been living in Bangalore because I’m working with EnAble India.

And I am a person with severe locomotor disability.

I contracted Polio at the age of two and the kind of Polio that I have, I cannot walk.

Generally in Polio, any two limbs get affected, either the upper limbs or the lower limbs but in my case all the four limbs were affected you know, to a great extent.

And , so, Gradually started physiotherapy on a regular basis, so after a lot of physiotherapy then gradually I was able to sit and I’ve started a very little bit of movement.

I need constant caregiving and I have a caregiver for the last ten years.

She is with me.

I need constant support ,like constant caregiving in terms of dressing, undressing or in terms of my bathing.

Eating I can manage if there is a table of proper height and all that, then, eating I can manage but apart from that for most of my activities, my regular chores, I need help so I have a full-time caregiver.

 

Till the age of 15, my parents and my family, they had to carry me.

After that, I started using a wheelchair and that was a manual wheelchair.

Now I use a power or electric wheelchair, what we call it, because though I don’t have much strength in my arms, I have a little bit of strength in my fingers.

 

So with that, with the help of my fingers, I can actually commute and drive the power wheelchair.

 

Till class 5 I studied at home and then I went to a regular school which is a mainstream school in my locality.

 

My family approached them but it was very difficult for me to attend the school on a regular basis, the classes on a regular basis.

 

So my family requested them if I can go to the school only at the time of the exams.

 

The school authority was really very very supportive, they kind of adapted this process.

College was also from home in the same process that I had done my schooling because of, of course, the traveling issue.

 

Even if I use a wheelchair, someone has to like, shift me from the wheelchair to the car or car to wheelchair, like that, so that was a difficulty.

 

And also my father was a bit apprehensive of me going out, in a college, and regularly attending classes.

 

He was a little bit apprehensive that if I fall down I will get injured, and the situation will get even worse.

 

So, that is how it all happened.

And at that point of time I was also not very sure about what I can do and what I cannot.

What is your take on marriage?

Well, I have many friends who are married and they are very happy and successful in their marital life.

 

And I have a lot of respect for the institution of marriage. 

But as a person somewhere I feel that I am not very interested in getting married.

I’d rather prefer being in a relationship.

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My parents never thought of rehabilitation and therapy because my parents thought that I’ll be alright very soon and they didn’t consider it as a disability.

 

So I lost a lot of valuable time and I could have been more independent.

With all the good intentions they never thought of therapy and taking an expert opinion so my suggestion to all the parents is that if you have any doubt, if you think your child is having some kind of disability, don’t waste time.

Please get an expert opinion and get your child diagnosed as soon as possible. 

So, my suggestion to all the parents is that, if you have any doubt, if you think your child is having some kind of a disability, don’t waste time, please get a expert opinion and get your child diagnosed as soon as possible. 

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