A lot happened since I last sat down to write anything. The idea had been to start doing news pieces still around disability and mental health issues but more generic and fun then so dark and gloomy and not always from my point of few. Unfortunately, that has not happened.
When I first started this blog it was to chart my progress on the run up to my amputations, the recovery and what happened next. It then grew into something more for me than just an online diary that people may or may not be interested in reading. It became a voice, a way to tell people and show people exactly how difficult life could be when you are disabled, but also to show others in similar situations that there is hope and to inspire people to get out there and start living their lives the best way that they can.
Now instead of finding fun light-hearted things to inspire me to write about, life keeps throwing me curve balls, so all I write about is the injustice, discrimination and exclusion people with disabilities deal with on a day to day biases.
I thought growing up in the ’70s, before things such as the equality act came into being, that the future for anyone with any kind of disability would be brighter. But let’s face it here we are in the 21st century and hate crimes or on the rise (just the fact they had to introduce a new law to cover these things says everything), and society is far from accessible or understanding at all, if anything I would say it’s less accessible in some ways, far less understanding and tolerant (and not just about disabilities) and less accepting.
Recently my son who has ASD and Tibia Torshin and my daughter were attacked on their way home from school, simply because he is autistic. Due to not being able to get a rise from my son who was trying his best to get home, they pushed his sister’s buttons, knowing that this would upset my son, trying to encourage her to fight. When my daughter refused they knew the way to get my daughter to lose her temper was to “trigger” my son, which they did. They did this by taking his bag, taking his pens and pencils out of his top pocket and knocking and throwing around his papers. This got them the reaction they wanted and he lashed out, hitting one of the kids who were in the midst of it setting off his triggers, name calling him, hurling abuse and mimicking his walking and talking. My daughter and son ended up getting kicked to the ground and repeatedly kicked in the sides, back, legs and in my sons head.
No one has been brought to justice over this, despite threats being made the week before about my daughter getting jumped through prank phone calls, despite ongoing talks with the school due to kids and teachers attitudes and bullying and despite reporting attacks that have happened previously to my daughters because their brother is autistic to the police. The children involved closed ranks, their families closed ranks and other people who saw what happened were too scared to say anything to the police for fear of reprisals. I even got accused of playing the victim, apparently having nothing better to do and my children accused of being trouble makers.
Welcome to a snapshot of equality and inclusion for anyone with a disability in the 21st century.
There are still so many businesses out there that do not understand what inclusion for people who have disabilities actually means. “But they make all toilets accessible now to everyone as not all disabilities are visible! “I hear you shout, and your right, but we still have people having to change their teenage child or adult on a dirty bathroom floor for the sake of extra space to put a full changing space in. “But public transport has disabled spaces!” another thing you shout at me and yes they do….but you see people won’t move out of the space if someone in a wheelchair needs to get on that bus. There has been plenty of stories in the press lately about people in wheelchairs being stranded by bus drivers, having abuse hurled at them by the other passengers for holding the bus up or even having to let 2 or 3 buses go past before they could get on one with the wheelchair space free. Now am not saying people with buggies should stop using buses, but it is my understanding (I refuse to use buses due to these exact reasons and how much anxiety it actually causes me, I would rather just not go out!), that there is one side for prams and one side for wheelchairs, if that is so then why is it not enforced if someone using a wheelchair needs to get on the bus? When I was younger (fair enough buses back then were not disabled accessible at all !!), but anyone who had a pram had to put it down and store it, just like you would if you were using a car and putting it in the boot. Half the time people are leaving the prams up and then the child is getting out and walking to a seat anyway, so wouldn’t it just make more sense to fold and store? I know the struggle of trying to manage a small child, a baby and bags of shopping whilst trying to fold and unfold a pram, but you did it, you managed, you had too.
I still get confronted every day by discrimination in various forms, even sometimes from friends and extended family (not all of them unintentional either, but that’s another blog post), and it can be disheartening, to say the least, and sometimes if your mood is not good it can lead to depressing thoughts that make you wonder why you bother and why you keep trying to be part of society let alone a productive one.
So what happened to the bright shiny future we were all promised? , the 21st century being all inclusive for everyone, everyone would be equal, no more segregation, no more discrimination?
In my opinion, for what it’s worth ( and after all it is my blog), sometimes there are days I stop and look around and honestly think it is worse now with exclusion and inequality towards disabilities then we ever were when I was a child.
Now there’s food for thought.