international day of disabilities
"The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with #disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life "
We asked our young adults what prejudices they come across and how it makes them feel in the hope we can change some of those stereotypes that still exist?
“ I have #Tourettes - people think I swear randomly and that’s amusing social media fodder; I don’t, I convulse, jerk, spasm and shake to the point of collapse.
I wake up every morning wondering if I will live through another day of this torture.
Hilarious isn’t it ?”
“I am not a ghost, I was born with #albinism ”
“Why do you colour your hair”, it is very bad for your hair to colour it at your age.
Or “Is she blind?”, “Why do you wear sunglasses” they ask my mum as if I would be unable to answer their question.
Some people assume whatever about albinism without checking with me. I am very capable of answering these questions and admit that I am seriously visually impaired and extremely sensitive to light and have wobbly eyes.
What people do not see is that I am struggling right now with being adopted as I was born with albinism in China where they think I bring bad luck to the family.
In other countries people think that we are ghosts and children cannot live safely with their parents. This is already painful enough.
I am hopeful that people will be more considerate once they better understand what it means to live with a disability and focus on our capabilities.”
I'm a VIP. No not a very important person rather a visually impaired person which isn't so fun. There are so many misconceptions related to being VI I could go on forever!
My favourite and most common misconception is "...but you dress so well?" As if blind or visually impaired people can't have a sense of personal style, have any interest in current fashions or take any pride in our appearance.
"So I guess you're only dating me because you can't see my face!" If I had £1 for every time a date has made this joke I'd be rich!
"She can't see so I've got a better chance of getting with her!" Absolutely not! Whether you're joking or not, being disabled does not make us some weird fantasy or fetish. It's weird and extremely derogatory!
Just because I don't use a white cane or aid of a Guide Dog DOES NOT mean that I'm not visually impaired.
There is a wide spectrum of visual impairments and there are also people like myself who struggle to accept their disability and aren't ready to use a cane or Guide Dog just yet.
Alternatively, not everyone who DOES use the aid of a cane or Guide Dog is completely blind. White canes and Guide Dogs are allocated to a person to give them a better sense of independence and confidence no matter their level of blindness.
Guide Dogs can't make decisions, speak, read or understand verbal directions such as "Get on the number 126 bus and get off at the Castle". Guide Dogs are purely used to guide a person and help navigate their environment.
"If you can't see then how are you texting me?" Many visually impaired people use text to speech technology, voice commands or magnifiers to help them use their phones or read any text. It's not impossible for blind or VI people to use their phones or text independently.
"Bless you. You're so brave. I'd never be able to do what you do". Brave? If I wasn't I'd never leave my house, live my life and most probably slip into a dark depression. Living with a disability isn't a choice - it's our daily life and something that we have to accept.
As amusing as some of these common misconceptions can be, I must stress the fact that being disabled should not be a limitation or hindrance to anyone. We can do anything if we're determined enough. Granted it might take a little longer, adaptation or compromise, but with the right amount of education, understanding, patience and support anything is possible.
“He dresses well for someone #disabled…”
Yes it’s true I have turned my back on elasticated waist bands and shunned velcro on my shoes! I will not dress for comfort. I will dress for #fashion. I will wear the best brands I can afford. My personal assistants may break out in a sweat when they see my skinny jeans and contemplate the tussle they will have when they help me dress however it’s so worth it. Fashion is for everyone. I feel good when I dress well. Why should being disabled limit the way I dress?
Can we talk about the ‘s’ word…..
Yes that’s right ‘staring’. Now I know it may be I’m getting you wrong. You may be eye-balling me because you’re checking out my hair or envying my clothes. But there’s looking and staring. That uncomfortable situation when people take rather too long looking you up and down. I cannot promise I won’t flick you the finger when you have spent a couple of minutes goggling at me. Sorry but after all, it’s rude to stare.
Can he speak?
Well ask me!!! I’m here-right in front of you-yet you will speak to whoever I am with rather than address me directly. Even now there is still the perception that you can’t address a person with a disability directly. Ask the question and I’ll answer. I might tell you to ‘stuff off’ if your question is personal…
Why would my rules be different to yours?
After all I’m just like you.
“OH THEY ARE SO LOVING AND CHEERFUL.
This is one one of the most annoying ideas people have about people with #downsyndrome.
Yes i can be loving and I can be cheerful, but i can be angry, sad,and be very grumpy, especially in the morning.
Why? because i am a human being with a wide range of emotions just like everyone else.
Also who do they mean by they? I am me , I have my own personality , downs syndrome is just one part of me.”
What’s wrong with you!!!
I was born with #cerebralpalsy and I will always have this #disability, I live with it daily and it’s part of who I am. And I like who I am. Unfortunately I have to deal with the ignorance of people who see me walking and decide to hurl abuse my way, name calling, mimicking me and quite often that annoying question,
“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU “ ??
There’s nothing wrong wit me thanks, there’s probably more wrong with you.I guess it’s human nature, but if only people were less interested in other people’s problems and focused more on themselves.They even speak to my mum as if I wasn’t there which infuriates me, I am completely capable of speaking for myself. My name is Bailey, I am a young person and I have a disability, I am not a disability 1st and a person 2nd, so it would be much easy to live with if people could address their own ignorance and insecurities before being rude and cruel to people like me.
“He will never get a proper job, he has #DownSyndrome”
Well count on 20 years & Nino through his own determination, commitment & talent has become an Assistant Coach with Bristol Bears Rugby. He coaches various age groups of adults & children & works in the stadium on Match Days. He has received a Parliamentary Award for his outstanding work with Bristol Sports Foundation. So yet again a young person with Down Syndrome was written off before his life really started & has gone on to dream, believe & achieve. All it takes is a supportive surrounding network, someone who believes in them & wants to champion their worth & place in society....someone who realises that their difference can be their key to success.
"You'd be fit if you weren't in a #wheelchair" is a statement I have been told and have heard men say in passing so many times. There's this preconceived idea that as a disabled person sex isn't a possibility. I've had strangers in the street ask me if I can, all whilst presuming its just something disabled people can't ever do. #Disabilities and #sex are seen as a taboo subjects apart but more so together when it comes to relationships, most able bodied people tell us they don't want the extra stress, but they never think of the stress they cause by being so narrow minded.
This preconceived judgement is one of the many ways in which society isolates disabled people and makes having a normal life inaccessible. When all we really want is some normality in our difficult lives.
I know that I’m different it’s not always clear to see
A little understanding and less judging helps me
I aim to please but sometimes I fail
The colour drains I become so pale
I start to fall into that distressing hole losing site of my ultimate goal
I crumble to the floor with no end in sight
Upset and confused ‘why can’t I do things right !’
Someone please come and take my hand
And lead me to my promised land
Through the haze and destruction a hand reaches out
Its my mum ... ‘You’ve got this my darling ! Please have no doubt !!
Together we battle determined and strong
With good people behind me I will keep fighting on !
Proud and unique I will always be
Thank you Zebedee ,for saving me.”
“But you don’t look sick” wow thanks, but I am!
I’m disabled by an invisible illness that makes me a financial burden on my family because people think I’m faking my illness, but you don’t see behind closed doors.
You don’t see me loosing consciousness, vomiting, coping with the dislocation of my joints and constant pain.
BUT TRUST ME IT HAPPENS DAILY AND I DON'T NEED YOU TO PREJUDGE ME!
I’m already going through a lot! Peoples prejudgements of me causes me to have social anxiety because they've judged me before they know anything, I just want people to understand not all disabilities are visible and we are all fighting a war inside!”
“I always felt like I was the odd one out at school. Can you imagine what it’s like when you struggle to make friends? Every day during registration I sat on my own with nobody next to me, each student with room for two on their own tables. That’s how I felt..... Isolated. “
I know my own mind but some people underestimate my understanding and capabilities due to my delayed speech and Downs syndrome. I have a voice and my own mind just take the time to listen and understand my opinion and thoughts.