Disability/impairment – what is it that scares people? It is a question I would love to get my wheels stuck into with a room full of people and ask why?
Who, just because we are disabled are being seen as different – less than, less able. If anything that’s being proven more though our voices to be an outdated untrue way of thinking.
This wasn’t always the case the lives of People with disabilities in 18th century England was very different most people with disabilities/impairments stayed in their communities instead of being placed in an institution, they lived and worked at all levels of society, from the poorest slums to the royal court.
While many institutions for disabled people were built during the 18th century period, the vast majority lived in family homes or on the streets and in the workplaces of their communities. People with disabilities/impairments lived at all levels of society, from the meanest dens of vagabonds to the highest circles of the elite and the royal court.
However, many did not live lives of destitution. People with learning disabilities – categorised as ‘idiots’ in this period – often still held down jobs and lived within networks of the family and friends -have you heard of Lord Nelson (1758-1805)? Even with one arm and sightless in one eye he led the British fleet and the deaf artist Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) was the first president of the Royal Academy.
Throughout the ages the perception of the disabled community has changed that is very clear to see but has it moved forward or back? – could you see someone in 2021 with one arm, sightless in one eye leading our British fleet or someone who’s deaf being given an opportunity like being president of the royal academy?
As a disabled person, you are advised not to include your disability/impairments on your CV otherwise you won’t even make it to the interview stage. You’re twice as likely to be unemployed as a non-disabled person, even in the UK with the NHS, it costs on average £570 a month more to be disabled.
Businesses are only required to meet legal requirements and anything beyond that is an afterthought. With 1 out of 3 in Society thinking that having a disability makes you less productive than someone who is a non-disabled person, it’s not hard to see how prejudice surrounding the disabled community is something to be scared of – if you can become disabled at any time, reasons outside of your control, then you’re going hold onto as much control as you can.
Right now It is more important to make the outside of a building look beautiful and inviting, having anything that makes the building accessible like ramps are not incorporate within the original design layout. This also includes homes only 9% of new stock in the uk have basic access. What kind of message is that giving disabled people? Plus what message is that giving the rest of the Society?
22% of the UK population is disabled that’s a estimated 13.9 million people and right now UK businesses are missing out on the purple pound the spending power of disabled people and their families is a staggering 274 billion a year that’s rising each year by not being accessible.
If you build it, they will come.
We live in a world developed by and made for non-disabled people – it’s time to change there is no reason or excuse why disability/impairment needs to be unseen or mean less than anymore.
Leaving behind one-fifth of the entire world’s population isn’t an option anymore.
So my question still lies have we move forward or back? And why is some of the non-disabled Community afraid? What are your thoughts?
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