I find it difficult to watch documentaries that talk about disabilities, not because I’m afraid to watch, but because I feel bad for those who were also born with a disability. I know what they feel, because I feel it too.
I think more of us need to be tolerant around those of us who have a disability. We’re the same, we may present slightly differently, walk and talk differently, but we feel pain in the same way everyone else does. That makes us the same.
It is important for everyone with a disability to feel comfortable with themselves and around other people, therefore what others say and how they say it matters. Not everyone will know how to act around disabled people. They may often find it difficult to make eye contact with them: they may also not know what to say, or how to say it.
It is also important for someone without a disability to know what someone with a disability needs. For example, always ask before giving assistance, not all people with a disability want or need it. Also, avoid showing pity or being patronising.
People genuinely aren’t always comfortable with disability, there can sometimes be a slight awkwardness. I believe that’s because disability isn’t talked about like it should be. When I was growing up disability wasn’t discussed, and the subject was considered taboo.
Yes, society is doing slightly better, but people with a disability are still considered broken. Disability needs to be understood, understanding is something that needs to be encouraged, so that everyone knows how to behave and interact around someone with a disability.
Society still isn’t great at inclusion, but disability has always been here. It needs to be inclusive. Disability is now being championed more by people, including members of the British Royal Family, but for inclusion to work fully and across the board, disability needs to be considered and seen as normal.