There is information out there now on just how more work needs to be done to bring disability into the 21st century and for it to find a place in society. But for me, disability still doesn’t go far enough. It’s never far from my mind.
In the 1960’s when I was born, there was very little reference to disability. You’d have had to scan very carefully through Britain’s law books to find any mention. Except for mentions around compensation claims for those suffering from industrial injuries and ex-service men, politicians seemed to think disability wasn’t their problem.
If it wasn’t for Alf Morris, a Lancashire MP who won the parliamentary equivalent of the lottery and the right for him to choose a bill to steer into law, it will have taken even longer for disability to be recognised. It was through personal circumstances that his choice, ‘the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act (1970)’ was put on the political map and for the first time.
Lord Morris as he was called, wasn’t surprised local councils weren’t offering disabled people a service, because they weren’t aware of how many disabled people there were, who they were and where they were. But even without those services, attitudes needed to change and in the 21st century there is still much work to be done.
Help towards the disabled must be unconditional. The word disability already has its own connotations. Frustration can boil into snappiness, anger and impatience, usually in the direction of the person with the disability, as if they’re somehow to blame.
It’s never pleasant being on the receiving end of anyone’s anger, particularly when it’s directed at us and we are disabled. Although anger is often misdirected, rather than it being antagonism towards us, there is still no excuse.
My disability links me to empathy, compassion, humanity, determination and emotional strength, but for that to work in its entirety, others must direct empathy, compassion and humanity back, so that I like many can be comfortable in our own skin and for us to be able to live our lives.
Like my diary is based on all those things, my experiences have also shaped who I have become, disability makes us different and unique and I for one wouldn’t want to change that. Disability needs to be unconditionally accepted.