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What makes me Disabled?

OK, I have a disability, I have Cerebral Palsy, please note I say have, not suffer with. I really hate the phrase, suffer with when talking about disability, I am not suffering. Anyway, back to the topic in hand. I keep wondering, am I disabled because I can not walk, or am I disabled because society says I am? I mean, I can not walk and my arms are a little pathetic, yes, but I have a wheelchair, so why should that not be the end of it? I am starting to believe I am disabled because society tells me I am, forces me to be and is ignorant towards disability. No not everyone is like this I know, but enough people are, will this ever change? Not for a long time.

Let me ask you this, should my disability get in the way when I go to Tesco? I think not, they have trolleys I can clip onto my chair, all good. I am however disabled when, once having arrived in the car park I find all the disabled bays are full, many of which are taken up by people with no blue badge. I am then made disabled by peoples laziness and ignorance,  they can’t be bothered to walk far, so do not care that someone may need the slot. They do not car that disabled people, more so those of us in chairs have no alternative if there are no disabled bays left.In this country nothing is done about people who abuse these slots, I’ve seen people in the USA fined for miss use of them,it is perfect, the law is strict and it works. Here, everyone passes the buck, Tesco apparently don’t own the car park, not their problem, the council says it is not law, not their problem. It is an utter joke.

But why should society respect and care about disabled people, we are all benefit cheats right? I mean, we all sit on our arses all days, living off the state, letting you the tax pay sort us out. Well, OK, not everyone thinks like that, nor are all disabled people like that. In fact, I’m not sure I know any disabled people who don’t work. It doesn’t help that for many years, the Government moved unemployed people onto incapacity benefits, to get them off the unemployment lists, keep figures down, for them to look good etc. But now, with so many people on the incapacity register, who let’s be honest shouldn’t be on there, many people within society assume many genuine disabled people are frauds.

My friend William for example, he has the same disability as me, been job hunting for over a year. He has had a few short term contracts, but he carried on job hunting while working. He was desperate to find a job, he finally got offered a full contract last week and starts next month. Do I think his disability was a factor in him not finding one for such a long time? Yes, yes I do, I believe people assume disabled people will be too much hassle. Sometimes they might be right, but more often than not, they are just like any other employee. I think it will be very hard to change peoples attitudes, you can not legislate what people think. Sure, it is illegal to discriminate when hiring, but employers will always find another reason. What we need is positive media, positive Government attitude. More disabled people on TV, there are a few million of us in this country, hardly any on TV though. Other minorities are well represented not us, why?

I just wanted to get that all out of my head, sorry if it was just crap, thanks for reading.

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  1. Rob
    April 21, 2011 at 16:04

    As someone with a disabled brother (although in a completely different way to yourself), I can only agree with what you’ve put.

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