Disability: society needs a change of heart

I am one of the many disabled people in the UK. I am sure many will agree when I say that the general attitude towards those who have a disability is absolutely appalling. Society definitely needs a change of heart.

The perception of people in wheelchairs must be changed. A lot of people have been led to believe that if a person is in a wheelchair they are stupid. This is most certainly not the case. From personal experience I have been called stupid many a time and been talked about in a derogatory way, to the point that people act like I’m not there and think I can’t understand them.

In some cases an individual’s disability affects so much of their brain that they can’t talk; however, this does not mean they cannot understand what is happening around them and also what you say to them. How dare you call someone stupid, just because they can’t communicate!

I’ve been called a waste of space. When I heard this I felt like I had been stabbed repeatedly: it still sends a shiver down my spine when I think about it. I’m sure thousands of people have suffered this abuse. I am utterly astounded that anyone would refer to us a waste of space. We are human too! We deserve to have a life! We deserve to be treated as normal people!

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) gives disabled people the right to access everyday facilities like shops, sports centres and public toilets.

This act stops people like us being discriminated against, so we are able to get a job. This part of the DDA stops employers from discriminating against a disabled person, for a reason related to their disability. The government is now trying to apply this law to drains. Drains situated where the pavements have been lowered for wheelchairs, cause a big problem for people using wheelchairs. The wheels of the chairs get stuck and on occasions topple over. Having had first-hand experience, I know the dangers as well as the embarrassment of having this happen to you.

If a disabled person is discriminated against they have the right to take their case to court. I think the DDA gives disabled people the power to stand up for themselves. If the need arises, I hope to use DDA to my advantage in later life.

The government is obliged to pay every disabled person disability living allowance (DLA) and the amount depends on how seriously your disability affects you.

There are 2.6million people in the UK claiming DLA, though more than 60 percent are refused it. I think this happens because there are so many fraudulent claims from pathetic, lazy imbeciles who don’t want to work so they steal money from disabled people.

Claiming DLA is quite time-consuming, as the forms you have to fill in are very extensive. I am enraged at the fact that all new and existing claimants of DLA will be subject to a medical assessment from 2013-14, the Chancellor has recently announced.

George Osborne claimed that plans to reform DLA would “ensure support is targeted on those with the highest medical need,” and that payments would only be made “for as long as a claimant needs them.”

If this is carried out it would save the government £1.4billion by 2015. Many charities and disabled people’s organizations’ have reacted with trepidation to the news, claiming that the new plans are likely to be expensive, counter-productive and could increase the burden on an already struggling local authority social care system.

I think if the government carried on with this proposal it would destroy the lives of many disabled people everywhere. DLA is a lifeline to disabled people. We need the support! We need the government to see sense!

I am sure you will agree that society must do something to change its attitude towards us. Quickly! The next time you see a disabled person in the street, don’t stare, say “Hi”, even a smile or nod. Remind yourself we all have feelings. The world would be a better place if we all helped each other.