said on 100 acorns

The idea of sending a countless idea is the idea i like.

Its important to me as a disability equality trainer.

In 1981, the first international year of disabled people we got together to discuss and understand our experience. We decided we had to tell everyone to think of disability in a different way, a new way.

Think now. What does disability mean to you?

Hold onto that idea.

How do you understand disability?

What is disability?

Where does disability come from?

Who are disabled people?

Did you answer disability is discrimination based on impairment? Or did you say something else. If you said something else that’s ok. Its where you are now.

Did you say disability comes from somewhere other than society, that it is society that actively discriminates against disabled people? If you didn’t that’s ok. That’s where you’re understanding is now.

When you looked at who disabled people are did you say that disabled people are those people who are discriminated against by society? If you said something else that’s fine that’s where you are now.

Take your thoughts about disabled people and disability and test it.

Look t your thoughts and see how society excludes the people you thought about. Look at how it organises itself, how it needs to change. Look at the attitudes that society has about disabled people. Look at how society constructs an environment that is only fit for active young men who are not pregnant. Look how the environment is built for 20% of the populace.

We can change these things. We can remove these barriers. We are removing these barriers. Over here in the UK we have the disability discrimination act. Its not the act disabled people campaigned for but it does go part of the way towards a civil rights bill that includes all disabled people, that understands and recognises the whole spectrum of our lives, that is enforceable.

I came to work this morning thinking about the personalisation and self directed support programmes that we are building in the uk and i could see the hands of disabled people all over it. Because we stopped to think about ourselves and our experience, because built a social model and upheld and shared it with others, and because the idea got out there, was heard, was understood, we are changing our lives, our experiences are getting better.

We have more say about who we are, who we want to be, we are given more opportunity to chase our dreams and realise our aspirations and all this is good.

But we need to hold to the idea, we have to cherish it, we have to promote it over and over cos sometimes society who we involve in the idea don’t hold it so dear and they still make mistakes, still discriminate. Just look at the welfare reform nonsense we have had to put up with this year. Just look at how the government uphold an economic model of disability and try to make monetary savings by keeping us out and how the press meekly backs them up with tales of disabled people scrounging, skiving.

Hold the idea. Cherish it. Pass it on. Let it be heard again.


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