With an estimated one billion disabled people living with visible and invisible disabilities/impairments worldwide and 14.1 million of those are in the UK, it’s no surprise that there are many barriers to inclusion in many key aspects of society. As a disabled person myself you might have read or seen me talk all about inclusion and the everyday barriers that most disabled people face.
It might shock you to know that not many people with visible or invisible disabilities/impairments enjoy access to society as they feel it’s not on an equal basis with others, this includes areas of transportation, employment, and education as well as social and political participation and of late the feeling of being ‘left behind and forgotten about’ by society in this current situation.
International Day of Disabled Persons falls on the 3rd December, it is a day that has been promoted by the United Nations since 1992. The aim of Disabled Day is to encourage and empower others to better understanding the people affected by a disability/impairment, making people more aware of the rights, dignity and welfare of disabled people.
The theme this year is “Building Back Better”
So why is accessibility still such a barrier in 2020?
Often accessibility is seen as a cost, when it can often be more of an investment, especially when the Purple Pound spending power of disabled people and their families is estimated at £274 billion a year and rising each year.
Living with muscular Dystrophy a progressive muscle weakening condition and the barriers that everyday life throws at you from accessing a toilet, restaurant or shops, even your workplace can be a barrier the list is endless, these reasons are why I started to share my experiences living as a disabled person in the hope that I could educate and shed some light as to the huge changes that need to be made within society – because being disabled isn’t a barrier the outside world is the biggest barrier any disabled person and their families will face!
Simple changes like making step-free access, automatic doors and the right equipped with inclusive technology does not seem like a huge ask in the grand scheme of things – I encourage you to think about how you can create a community that is inclusive for everyone.
If some within the non-disabled community continue to remain ignorant, as a society it will continue in failing to include disabled people. The need to fix or give pity isn’t wanted or warranted. But as humans we do have empathy, understanding and seeing things from other perspectives. It’s also good to remember that most of us either are, or will eventually become, disabled. So, it would seem a sensible, inclusive, future-proofing step to get with the program sooner rather than later.
There are a few exciting projects I’ve been involved in coming up on the 3rd December – might even be a Tesco changing places toilet reveal for #InternationalDayOfDisabledPersons so keep your eyes, wheels and everything else open on my social media!
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