A thought-provoking article in The Guardian back in September 2010 focusing on the social issues affecting disabled people presents the view that many high profile disabled people have succeeded not only because of their “brave” qualities, but because they were provided with every advantage in life – something all disabled people should have.
It should go without saying that people with disabilities should have the same rights as all other people. But because of common misunderstandings, negative attitudes and the lack of knowledge of the wider population disabled people often face serious barriers.
The social aspects of disability are far-reaching and Chartwell,a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist service for people with disabilities, has staff who care about their customers and take the time to chat when phoned about insurance. As a company, Chartwell is becoming increasingly aware of the social issues surrounding disabled people but it really is those who are disabled who have the most understanding.
Martyn Sibley, who describes himself as a regular guy who happens to have a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), writes an informative blog about his experiences. Back in 2011, he looked at some of the solutions to disability. For example, he points out that when a building has steps and his wheelchair cannot access it he is disabled. However, when there is a ramp or lift he is enabled and not disabled.
This is an interesting viewpoint, challenging the way both able-bodied and disabled people look at problems and their solutions. He proposes that by not accepting bad access, attitudes and policies, alongside disabled people raising the bar then the world for disabled people will become fairer.
Social media has its role to play in getting the voices of disabled people heard. It can be a powerful tool, as the rapid rise of access to computers and mobiles has put social campaigning firmly within grasp for disabled people. Where it may not be possible to get out, travel across a city and join in a protest march, it is possible to post online or tweet.
An article in The New Statesman entitled ‘Social media means the voices of the disabled can no longer be ignored by those in power’ explores this issue in detail and concludes that tweeting, Facebook, below-the-line comments, or blogging, has given many disabled people a new way to get their voices heard.
But unfortunately disabled people still meet prejudice and have to try not to let it deflect them from the course of action they desire. In The Telegraph, Scott Jordon Harris wrote a letter to a young disabled person encouraging her not to be disheartened by a recent employment setback. She wanted to be a journalist but was told that in a job interview she would be at a major disadvantage compared to any able-bodied candidate.
In line with Scott Jordon Harris, the young woman in question and others, Chartwell finds this line of thinking unacceptable.