On the 3rd December 2018 it is International Day of People with Disabilities. So I thought I would do a blog post on a few of the discrimination and ignorance’s I have faced or even face on a daily basis.
I have Cerebral Palsy Right Hemiplegia I was diagnosed with this condition when I was in year 2 of Primary School. I have had many years of comments said to me as well as opinions about my disability. I am 20 now and I can honestly say the comments haven’t really stopped and it is from people of all ages.
Don’t get me wrong I really don’t mind people asking me questions about my disability, But I’d rather people asked me when stare at me for a while and try and work out what’s “wrong with me”.
Often when I go out to the shops people see the driver park in a disabled car parking space. I put my blue badge out get out of the car, and that’s when I get the looks and then the comments. ” That’s a disabled spot let a disabled person have that space ” or maybe another disabled person wants to park in the disabled parking spot I am in and that’s when I get told to move. I have had on quite a few occasions people walk to the car and check I have a blue badge. I remember I used to have a helper at college and we went out into the community I said I had a blue badge and they said “how come you have one but some of the students with walking aids don’t “.
When I am out in public and I need to go to the bathroom sometimes I will use the disabled toilet. This could be because I need more space and sometimes my walking can go a bit funny as my legs can shake, so I find this toilet easier and safer to get too as it can be closer too. However when I sometimes come out of the bathroom people look at me and I just know what they are thinking. Once this lady in a wheelchair got so angry I did try and tell her about my condition and that I was disabled but she just said ” excuses excuses young people today are lazy and have no respect “.
Yes I can walk but I did at secondary school and college use a wheelchair as I was having lots of non- epileptic seizures. It was decided that it would be safer and better for me to use my wheelchair as my seizures made me very tired and my balance anyway is not very good due to my disability. I do use my wheelchair if I go on trips out for example around a museum which I know I will have long walking distances. This is because my legs get extremely tired and I could just fall to the floor.
I get this said to me quite a bit especially when other disabled parents ask me do you go to this group or that group. I might say I hope to see my friends soon or I might see some at Stagecoach at the weekend. They then want to know what social group I met them at. They then want to know what conditions they have and when I say they are able bodied the parents looked quite surprised! I do have friends who also have disabilities but I also have friends who are able bodied.
Being Disabled I have found it harder to get onto college courses. Before I talk about my disability things seem to be going ok but once it’s mentioned it suddenly goes the other way. For example a tutor knew I was disabled and was willing to have me on their course. I am normally allowed to have extra time, a reader etc in tests or exams. In this course I would have to do exams practical and written in each of the units I would be taught. However the exam board would not allow me to have extra time ect so I could not do the course. I have found it very hard to get onto lots of courses due to the way others see my disability.
I want others to know that not all disabilities are visible ! Our disabilities do not define us and we are more than the labels society gives us ! In fact that having a disability is probably not the most interesting thing about me!