In a recent blog post I talked about how the topic of disability was being talked about within media. Today, I want to start to look at how the topic is being handled within society.
I have recently done a few different interviews with other people who also have Spina Bifida and I asked all of them the same question. “How today’s society is dealing with the topic of disability?” Every single person said the exact same thing! They all said that it has only been since the Paralympics in 2012 that society are talking about disability. Why is this? What happened this time that has never happened in the other games?
Firstly, to the question of why? The first reason is “Able bodied” people think that disabled people are some kind of “Super-human.” Now, if you have seen any of my other blog posts, or have seen any tweets I have done you will see that I am against labels such as ‘disability’. Being called a super-human I think is worse. It is still saying that we are different from all the rest as if we are not human. Today’s society in my eyes have got a lot better at treating people who have a physical and mental disability. They are more respectful of disabled people. I do also agree with the people I interviewed. I think that people are seeing us as some sort of Super-Human. I for one do not feel like a super-human. I don’t see anything I do or have done that can define me as a Super-human.
Secondly, What made 2012 more special than all the other games? Now, I went to the first four days and was able to watch some of the different events. As a Wheelchair Basketball coach and someone who wants to see disability talked about more I thought the games gave people, who might not have a disability, to have a chance to find out more about the sport. I think it showed people that just because we have a disability doesn’t mean that we can not compete like everyone else. Since the paralympics society has started to change their view on disabled people. I’m not saying it is perfect but it is getting there!
I recently read the Auto-biography of Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson called ‘Seize the day’. In the first chapter she describes what it was like for her when she came third at the sports personality of the year in 2000. She talks about how there was no ramp to get up on to the stage. Compared to fifteen years ago Access is a lot better! However, there still is a lot that could be better! The Discrimination Act in 2010 states that all buildings that are built after 2010 needs to have wheelchair access. This is great until you look around and see how many buildings were built after 2010. I live in the Georgian Town of Bath. Most Shops, Houses and offices were not built in 2010. This means that big businesses are able to get away with it.
I’m not wanting to sound all negative! I think society is a lot better than it was. I think people are more respectful of people with a disability. I Think due to the fact people are understanding more about the topic of disability they are able to understand that we are just as human as they are! We all have our own issues to deal with, some more than others. We are all Humans, We all make mistakes, We all have feelings and we all participate and LIVE life!
By Simeon Wakely – Life With Ability
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