Carys, a member of the FLARE group, has written a blog for International Day of People with Disabilites 2020
The Disability Act undoubtedly improved for people with disabilities, but the UK still has a long way to go. People with disabilities are often still discriminated against and find it difficult to access the benefits they’re entitled due to the sometimes harsh system where people have to expose how vulnerable they are in order to have a chance of getting payments like PIP, yet often don’t get them when they still need them.
To be a true ally to those with SEND, you need to acknowledge that the only person who knows best about their experience with the condition is the person with the disability themselves.
We need to stop assuming that people who look “normal” aren’t disabled. It puts individuals, like myself, into really awkward positions when we’re exposed to unconsciously ableist attitudes.
I think it’s all about knowing that people can’t change their disability- they can’t change the way they walk, process information, or look. So, we need to change the way we see.
One ambition I have as a person with a disability, is to show the world that a disability doesn’t need to hold you back. You don’t have to fit into these stereotypes society tries to categorise you into- I know I’m not anyone’s hero, but I’m definitely not society’s villain. I’m just me. If I’m ok with that, living without categorising myself, then other people should be to. People with disabilities are still people, after all!.
That links on to my ambition for the society, in a way. We need to stop seeing people with SEND as one category and stop expecting them to conform and want to share the information about their disability straight away. Respect the differences between each individual, respect privacy and support every single individual in the society to reach their full potential, regardless of disability.