commissioner has gone, it is safe to say that I have some concerns. I always thought that there was a specific disability commissioner or perhaps that’s me just wanting to have one. This is not a game of top trumps to figure out

who has the biggest priority among the groups. We should not go down that route. I don’t want to diminish the discrimination that other people experience and disabled people are not one homogenous group that sit somewhere on a scale in nice little boxes. People are a big complicated Venn Diagram and I sometimes wish that it was more simple. I think it’s important that the voice and experience of disabled people is strongly listened to and heard at many level within the system. I increasingly feel that disability legislation and

the application of it is nowhere near where I’d like it to be. You only have to see the Disability Hate Crime figures and that over the years the Crown Prosecution Service has said that not only is it hard to recognise it, but also hard to then apply the additional tariff when a prosecution is taken forward. It’s a serious problem. Any discrimination is appalling. I have seen it

first hand from a different person’s perspective when I was walking down a corridor with a black friend (who is quite tall). A woman walking

towards us looked my friend up and down and then moved her handbag to her other shoulder (and away from him). It was the look that undid me, but he said it happened many times a week. Discrimination in all its forms is bad and needs some champions and some legislation. One of the challenges going forward is that

there’s still a lack of understanding about what language can and shouldn’t be used around disabled people. There is so much inspiration porn (aren’t they all brave and marvellous and other such irritating terms) and way too many non-disabled people speaking on behalf of disabled people that sometimes I want to scream. There are some disabled people who have had really challenging experiences in their life or, like me, not much at all. Just because I am a wheelchair user then don’t assume my life is tragic, sad or awful. And don’t assume because we have some legislation that everything is now OK. I know times are hard and there is a lot that

needs to be done. There is a debate coming about whether we still have austerity. Things may not get any easier. This might appear to be a small change but it could have a big impact on disabled people’s lives that we won’t see for a long time.


Special needs harnesses for vehicle seats, wheelchairs, shower & bath hoists, commode chairs, walking reins and more.

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We make simple belts and full supportive harnesses for all kinds of special needs, including challenging behaviour.

Ability Needs Magazine 21

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