Politicians need to do bit more to change the attitude of society towards disability

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Disability is something which is not by choice but by accident or misfortune, as all of us want to be healthy and lead a perfect life. But sometimes we are the victim of time and circumstances, and we must lead the kind of life due to our disability that we never imagined.

We all should be sensitive about this subject and eager to collaborate and do something in this field, as we all experience this issue in our lifetime either ourselves after certain age, or through our loved ones. But unfortunately, when we are young and healthy, we are so engrossed in our day-to-day routine that we hardly pay enough attention about the attitude of society towards disability or the government’s disability inclusion policy, whether effective or not. We only awake when we suffer ourselves, or our loved one in our family gets affected by disability.

There are so many unconscious barriers of our society which deny people with disabilities the opportunities to achieve their dreams – dream to go beneath the ocean, or to fly.  And with our little effort we can help them to achieve those dreams though it might take bit longer, but I am sure it is not something which is impossible. And there are many people in our society who have proved that their disability does not hold them back to achieve their dreams, whether it is to contribute to society or to enrich this planet, or in other ways.

Most of us are aware of the barriers which limit the inclusion of people with disabilities in the mainstream. But somehow we don’t’ pay enough attention to remove or improve them. For example, attitudinal barriers, the society’s attitude towards disabled people, this one is the biggest obstacle to providing equal opportunities to disabled people and to remove this barrier we need to change our outlook as we, and we only, can help to eliminate this barrier. Environmental barriers, such as inaccessible buildings, also restrict people with disabilities to participate in mainstream society. Further, institutional barriers, like many policies, strategies and laws, are also a hindrance for which we all must work together to raise awareness and force the government to do something.

Along with day to day struggles another problem which a disabled person must endure in our society is disability hate crime.  Though disability hate crime came into law in 2003 as part of the Criminal Justice Act, prosecutions are low as most of the time it’s hard for the victim to prove that it occurred against them.  Since it’s difficult to prove it rarely gets reported by the victim, although we all can imagine how it must be impacting a disabled person’s mental health and hitting their confidence.

A disabled person needs assistance on a daily basis to live their life, but then we all need assistance from each other to live a complete life. The difference is they need a bit extra assistance as they face some further obstacles to fulfil their dreams or to live their life; with a little assistance we can contribute a lot to their life. We all together can support, help, and change the society.  And I believe the world is full of wonderful people; we all have good intentions, just we need bit more compassion to understand what they go through in day today’s life.

Although improvement has been made, more needs to be done. We need more forward planning and coordination to include disabled people in the mainstream society.

I think disability should be a priority theme for all the parties and especially for our party, the Liberal Democrats.

* Anita Prabhakar is a solicitor. She has been a Lib Dem PPC three times and is the diversity officer for Liberal Democrats for the Heart of England. She is a member of the Vice-President's Advisory Group, Diversity Champion of the East Midlands Regional Executive and Vice-Chair of Newark Liberal Democrats.

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7 Comments

  • Kay Kirkham 19th Aug '21 - 4:28pm

    The picture inadvertently implies that all disabilities are physical and/or visible. We need to be aware that this is not the case. Hearing loss is a case in point but there are many others.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Aug '21 - 5:09pm

    Yes to each and every word here.

    Anita is correct in this being important for this party. Liberal freedom is not self indulgence and harm, from people it is self expression and help for people.

    But Kay is right, disability, and disadvantage are hidden too.

    Too often we see the obvious and not the less obvious.

  • anita prabhakar 19th Aug '21 - 5:14pm

    I absolutely agree with you Kay. In fact, we should be more concerned about disability which is not visible. And especially hearing loss is something where one has to suffer silently every day. And since people are not aware of one’s problem or disability they don’t understand how difficult it is to cope with.

  • Helen Dudden 19th Aug '21 - 6:53pm

    As a Power Wheelchair user every day is a challenge. Travel on the bus, and most supermarkets are very helpful.
    I find attitude one of the most difficult to understand. I have children and great grandchildren. Fairly recently talking about my grandchildren, a remark was made, you have children? I stopped the conversation as they fumbled for words. Yes I do.
    Housing is the worst, fire hazard is what I am, this follows guidelines by the Fire Officer on charging. But after 5 year’s of trying to find a home can’t ways be found to overcome rather than ban.
    I was born with a sight issue that led to where I am. All deserve the best from life, not everyone can be understanding, but that’s not a good reason for indifference and lack of understanding.
    This is the plus side of my disability, most negative comments are face to face.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Aug '21 - 9:22pm

    Helen

    As usual a powerful comment, your power is more than that of your wheelchair!

    You are a strong and inspiring person helen!

  • John Barrett 20th Aug '21 - 1:21pm

    I don’t think the picture implies anything about disabilities being visible or physical.

    Non visible disabilities, such as hearing loss, are much harder to capture in a photo and it is understandable that the photo along with the article was used, without it implying anything else.

  • Helen Dudden 22nd Aug '21 - 7:12am

    I understand. A young friend of the family has just had heart surgery.
    They live in private renting costing very nearly a £1000. Only part of the surgery could be done, the other side too dangerous, they have three children. She has to do nothing but rest for two weeks. They have lived in two properties as the need to sell arises.
    As more Student Housing is built in the Bath area, now to house the students from Bristol, when is enough, enough.
    I’ve been writing on this problem of housing and accessible homes that there is little interest in.
    Disability is not simply not able. Health conditions put other health condition. I now have
    problems with blood flow in my feet, due to constant inflammation in bones.
    A wheelchair only suggests there is a need.

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