Takashi Ono is 36 years old. He lives in Tokyo and has been helping children with disabilities get an education. Ono is a physically disabled person. However, he has been striving for the inclusion of disadvantaged children in the schools.
Takashi suffers from cerebral palsy. It is a rare neurological disorder caused by brain injury or malformation in children. The disease is chronic and affects all voluntary body movements and muscle coordination. Takashi cannot move or speak but expresses his thoughts by using his index fingers. He taps and writes on his caretaker’s arms to make sentences and express himself.
In an interview with him and his mother Kimoko, we see how dedicated he is towards making sure disabled children get a traditional education. He thinks that even if children have speech disorders, they should not get excluded from attending regular classes.
Takashi illustrates his own experiences of attending classes in regular schools. He talks about sitting in the front row and talking to his classmates after school. He felt that their compassion and consideration is what helps students fit in no matter what ailment they may be dealing.
For a long time, the government sent children found with disabilities to special schools, which have received widespread criticism. Japan has made efforts to assert their citizen’s constitutional rights of universal education. They have started to make changes to include instances of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as stated by UN.
Ono has consistently talked about the freedom for people to choose where they wish to learn. He asserts that the problem lies with the government making decisions for disabled people. Ono hopes for the school system to provide the freedom for people with disabilities to choose where they learn and what they learn. He believes that the state’s unnecessary intervention conflicts with the rights of disabled people.
Japan still has a long way to go in dealing with its society’s attitude towards persons with disability. It has been scheduled to host the 2020 Paralympics but has a long way to go before its communities give equal status to its disabled citizens.