going out has been fine, and others say that people have just walked into them because they are not looking where they are going. For those who use public transport, it may not be such as easy decision to go back onto it. Whether they can wear a mask or not will also have an impact on whether they choose to go out. I worry that there is going to be some peer policing of mask wearing. I have already seen some videos online from the USA where it looks like people are wilfully refusing to wear a mask. I have not re posted any of those, because I don’t know the whole story. They may just not be able to explain it very well, or they could just not be bothered. This is where I believe mixing up the words vulnerable and disabled doesn’t help, because there may be some with an invisible condition who are not able to explain why they can’t. It has been suggested that people should carry cards to show that they may not be able to wear a mask which can be produced if challenged. That assumes that people will be challenged, and we know they will be. But also, what about a disabled person who could wear a mask but just doesn’t want to. Does it mean that they should be allowed to do what they want? The permutations are too much at the moment.

Lanyards have been suggested as another

option, but how you get them, who pays for them etc and are people trained to know what they mean, just adds another layer. If there is a scheme that is chosen, then it relies on there to be a wide understanding of what it means and there would need to be a decent amount of customer service training to go with it. And I will admit to having very mixed feelings

about wearing something. I mean, I know I can’t hide the fact that I am a wheelchair user, but I seem to have to fairly regularly challenge what that means. Do I need help pushing along the street or up a ramp? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes people listen to the answer that I give and sometimes they don’t, and push me even when I say no. There is a fine line between people being helpful and people being patronising. And I try to navigate that on a daily basis when I go out. And this was before the pandemic. I have not really been anywhere to test what

people think. I have had one report of someone being told that disabled people should not be out. It won’t be the only one. What it does show is that yet again disabled people have to make lots of choices about how they do the most basic of things.

Crelling Harnesses Ltd. Tel: 01253 852298 Email:

Crelling Harnesses manufacture a full range of special needs harnesses suitable for use on all kinds of equipment including

wheelchairs, buggies, scooters, shower chairs, bathing equipment, stair lifts and seats in cars, buses and aircraft etc.

The vehicle harnesses are designed to be worn in conjunction with the existing safety belts to provide additional postural support and/or to offer a certain degree of restraint when used for those passengers with behavioural problems or learning difficulties.

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

Ability Needs Magazine 19

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