I find it difficult to watch all documentaries that involve disability, not because I’m afraid to watch, but because I feel bad watching those who like me were born with a disability. I know what they feel because I feel it too.
Although there is still a stigma around disability I think more of us should practice using compassion around disability. We’re no different to anyone else. Yes, we may present slightly differently, walk and talk differently, but we bleed and feel pain in the same way everyone else does. That makes us the same.
It’s important for anyone with a disability to feel comfortable, therefore what we say and how we say it. It’s enormously important to know what someone with a disability needs from you. Always ask before giving assistance, not all people with a disability want or need assistance.
Avoid showing pity or being patronising. Do we get that right? Not everyone knows how to treat or be around disabled people. They may often find it difficult to look at or make eye contact with them. They don’t always know what to say, or how to say it.
People genuinely aren’t comfortable with disability. They don’t know how to be, there’s a slight awkwardness to the whole disability concept. But maybe that’s it. Disability isn’t talked about like it should. When I was growing up disability was taboo.
Yes, society is doing slightly better, but people with a disability are still considered broken. Disability is something that needs to be encouraged across the board so that everyone understands how to behave and interact.
Society still isn’t great at inclusion, but disability has always been here. It is being championed more by people including members of the British Royal Family, but disability needs to be part of the landscape and needs to be considered normal.